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Second Edition 



Robert Palmieri, Series Editor 

Piano, Second Edition 
Robert Palmieri, Editor 
Margaret W.Palmieri, Associate Editor 

Harpsichord and Cluviclioid 
Igor Kipnis, Senior Editor 
Robert Zappulla, Editor 


Douglas E.Bush, Editor 



Second Edition 

Robert Palmieri, Editor 
Margaret W.Palmieri, Associate Editor 

New York and London 

Published in 2003 by 

29 West 35th Street 
New York, NY 10001 

Published in Great Britain by 
1 1 New Fetter Lane 
London EC4P 4EE 

Copyright © 1994, 1996, 2003 by Robert Palmieri 

Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group. 

This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005. 

"To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge's collection of thousands of eBooks please go to" 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilized in any form 
or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including 
photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without permission 
in writing from the publisher. 

Library of Congi c * < I. m in-Pul i i n Data 
Encyclopedia of the Piano editor. Robert Palmieri; associate editor, 
Margaret W.Palmieri.— 2nd ed. 
p. cm. 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN 0-415-93796-5 (hardback : acid-free paper) 
1. Piano — Dictionaries. I.Palmieri, Robert, 1930- II. Palmieri, 
Margaret W. 
ML102.P5E53 2003 

ISBN 0-203-43916-3 (Adobe eReader Format) 


In honor of the Paduan artisan, Bartolomeo Cristofori, who started it all. 


List of Illustrations vii 

Introduction ix 

The Encyclopedia 1 

Contributors 445 

Index 456 




Keyboard ranges 




The generation of a sine-wave 




The principle of constructive and destructive interference 




Standing transverse wave with nodes and antinodes 




Resultant wave form of the fundamental and first two overtones 




Resultant wave form of the first six partials of a tone 




Oscillograph trace of a piano sound and the resulting envelope 




Damped vibration 




Decay curve for a 1 (trichord) 








Decay curve for AAA (monochord) 




Decay curve AA (dichord) 




Resonance of the soundboard 




Grand piano action (contemporary) and surrounding parts by Steinway & Sons 




Anglo-German action 




Down-strike action by Pape, 1839 (from the patent) 




English Grand Action by John Broadwood & Sons, 1795 




Repetition Action with Double Escapement by Erard, 1822 




Upright Pianoforte Action by Domenico Del Mela, 1739 




Upright (Vertical) Piano Action (contemporary) by Baldwin 




Upright Tape-Check Action by Wornum, 1842-1852 








Duplex Scale by Steinway & Sons 




The American Ampico reproducing piano 




Grand pianoforte by Ludwig Bosendorfer 




Clockwork-driven barrel piano 




Boardman & Gray 








Frederic Horace Clark and his Harmonie-Piano 




Earliest extant Cristofori "Pianoforte," 1720 




Scipione Maffei's diagram of the Cristofori action 




Harpsichord Jack 




Cristofori's action for his "pianoforte" of 1720 




Upright Pianoforte (1739) by Domenico Del Mela 




Vertical (Upright) Pianoforte Action by Domenico Del Mela, 1739 




Beethoven, "Waldstein" Sonata Op. 53 




Legato octaves 








Double thirds 




Pyramidenflugel [Pyramid grand] 1745 — by Christian Ernst Friederici 




Action by Domenico Del Mela 




Claviharpe by Johann Christian Dietz, 1814 




Square piano by John Broadwood & Sons 




The "Technicon" by James Brotherhood 




The "Piano Dactylion" 




A set of keys rests on a keyframe 




Advertisement for Krakauer Bros 




The MirrApiano ca. 1950 


Fig. 48. 

Automatic piano-orchestrion 


Fig. 49. 

Weber expression piano 


Fig. 50. 

A view of overstringing (or cross-stringing) in an upright piano 


Fig. 51. 

Square piano by Jean-Henri Pape (1840) 


Fig. 52. 

Table of Partials 


Fig. 53. 

Mozart, Piano Concerto in C Major. K. 503 


Fig. 54. 

Mozart, Fantasia in C Minor, K. 475 


Fig. 55. 

Debain Piano Mecanique 


Fig. 56. 

Grand piano pinblock 


Fig. 57. 

Frequencies of the tonal scale of a piano 


Fig. 58. 

Cast iron plates 


Fig. 59. 

Push-up Player Piano 


Fig. 60. 

Key-top player 


Fig. 61. 

Prellmechanik without escapement 


Fig. 62. 

Prellmechanik with escapement 


Fig. 63. 

Prellmechanik with adjustable escapement 


Fig. 64. 

Regulating the action 


Fig. 65. 

Section of Baldwin grand piano action 


Fig. 66. 

A Duo-Art reproducing piano 


Fig. 67. 

Reproducing cabinet player action 


Fig. 68. 



Fig. 69. 

Square piano by William Rolfe and Sons 


Fig. 70. 



Fig. 71. 

A John Longman automatic piano 


Fig. 72. 

Square piano by Longman & Broderip 


Fig. 73. 

Square piano by Broadwood 


Fig. 74. 

Concert Grand by Steinway & Sons 


Fig. 75. 

Hand-turned barrel piano 


Fig. 76. 

Yamaha DX1 Programmable FM Digital Synthesizer 


Fig. 77. 

Tangent action by Jan Skorski 


Fig. 78. 



Fig. 79. 

Number of beats per second for fifths, fourths, and thirds 


Fig. 80. 

An example of a tuning sequence 


Fig. 81. 

Upright piano 


Fig. 82. 

Hupfeld Phonoliszt Violina 


Fig. 83. 

Virgil Perfected Practice Clavier 


Fig. 84. 

An advertisement of the Virgil Practice Clavier 


Fig. 85. 

Welte reproducing cabinet piano 



When the Paduan instrument maker Bartolomeo Cristofori devised his first pianoforte, it is doubtful that he foresaw the 
overwhelming universal acceptance it eventually achieved. The instrument hit its peak in development and production in the 
nineteenth century but has continued to maintain its prominent position in the concert world and the home. This ability to 
endure shows us how vital the instrument has been to our musical environment. The piano celebrated its 300th anniversary in 
the year 2000, and to help honor the event the first edition of this volume has been updated. The piano volume of the 
Encyclopedia of Keyboard Instruments highlights the piano's long evolution up to the year 2002, when this second edition was 

One will find many subjects that are explored in depth. On the other hand there are subjects that warrant only simple 
definitions. An earnest attempt has been made to see that new information regarding the piano has been incorporated. In 
selecting the topics for this volume, every effort was made to be as comprehensive as possible; it is not possible, of course, to 
cover all piano companies, all piano makers/builders, all countries that produce pianos, and so on. We did, however, attempt 
to include the most important builders and companies. 

The composers with entries in the piano volume are there because they had a direct or indirect influence on the development 
of the instrument, not because they wrote piano music. This volume deals primarily with the instrument itself, although one 
will find a few ancillary topics, for example, piano music, pedagogy, technic, touch, and the like. 

The reader will find birth/death dates in the index for most persons mentioned in the volume. Dates were only entered in 
the text when pertinent to that article. The index will also be useful in locating the many other piano builders/makers and 
piano companies that are mentioned in the text but not examined in depth. The index is helpful in finding the many individual 
parts of the piano and where they are discussed. As a cross reference aid, items in the text that are in small caps are article 
titles and one can investigate further by going directly to the item so marked. 

I would like to thank Routledge for its insight in producing this second edition of the piano volume, and I thank the many 
colleagues and specialists who offered their advice. My thanks also to Western Washington University's excellent music library 
and its helpful staff. It was a joy working with the many authors who willingly shared their knowledge of the instrument — all 
experts in their fields. They are truly devoted to the piano and its colorful history. The contributing authors essentially 
generated this volume. May the piano continue to enrich our lives! 


"I I T I 

C c C c 2 


Fig. 1. Keyboard ranges specified in this volume follow this format: AAA to BBB, CC tc 




c 3 

Robert Palmieri 




When cast-iron FRAMES and OVERSTRINGING became standard, it became obvious to more than one piano maker that 
significant areas of useable space were opening up within the framework of the piano in which a larger SOUNDBOARD 
could be fitted. But, although piano design in general has always sought to incorporate the largest possible area of soundboard 
surface, these same makers soon discovered that there is such a thing as a soundboard that is too large. Prototypes of such 
instruments demonstrated that portions of the larger soundboard were not always under the strict control of the STRINGS. In 
fact, a sort of booming, or semi-independent drum action, characterized the tone to such a degree that even the fall of the 
DAMPERS could not immediately silence it. Hence, the introduction of the acoustical block, a wooden structural member 
placed in the upper bass corner of the GRAND PIANO framework (or in one or more corners of the UPRIGHT piano), the 
purpose of which is to limit the working area of the soundboard and to block out, or rather to prevent from ever getting started, 
unwanted vibrations and soundboard flutter. The acoustical block also serves an additional function in that it shortens several 
RIBS, thereby allowing the BRIDGE to sit more centrally upon them. 

Two other commonly used terms for this wooden member are the harmonic trap and the dumb-bar. 

See also Soundboard 



The acoustical disc is a small, hardwood disc approximately three-fourths inch diameter by three-eighths inch tall that is 
inserted into holes in the SOUNDBOARD. These discs, which are located under the BRIDGES at each place where a RIB 
passes underneath, are sandwiched between the bridge and the rib, secured by a small diameter wooden dowel running 
through the three components. The result of this atypical plan on belly construction is to effectively extend the hardwood of 
the bridge down through the soundboard so that it makes direct contact with the ribs. Vibrations in the bridge are believed to 
more quickly energize the rib and to more completely intensify soundboard amplification where a disc is present. Most pianos, 
including the STEINWAY, do not employ the acoustical disc. 

See also Soundboard 



Fig. 2. The generation of a sine-wave. The traveling of a point (p) around the circle, projected on a system of coordinates. 

Every musical action can be considered as the production of a chain of energy. The way this energy travels through the 
several parts of the system determines the final result, in casu the sound we hear. One very important phase in the process of 
making music on the piano is, of course, the instrument itself. Being an energy system of its own, the important moments of 
its acoustical chain of energy are: 

1. the beating of the HAMMER on the STRING and the disturbance of the equilibrium of the latter, 

2. the vibration of the string itself, 

3. the floating of vibrational energy from the string to the SOUNDBOARD via the BRIDGE, and, 

4. the radiation of sound from the body of the instrument to the surrounding air. 

All of these moments are twofold: they are governed by general mathematical and physical rules, but their actual behavior is 
determined chiefly by the nature and use of the building materials. A full understanding of the acoustical functioning of the 
piano is therefore only possible when the two levels (theory and actual realization) are both considered. 

Generalities on Acoustics 

Waves and their behavior. 

The greater part of acoustical events have to do with periodic motions. A periodic motion consists of the repetition of a 
basic movement in equal intervals of time, for example, the swinging of the pendulum of a clock. The time that is needed for 
such a single motion is called the period T and is expressed in seconds. For the clock pendulum, this is the time it takes to go 
from its perpendicular position (equilibrium) to the right, back to the equilibrium, to the left, and back to the perpendicular 
position. The number of times such a single motion (or cycle) takes place in one second is called the frequency / where j=\l 
T, and is expressed in hertz (Hz). One hertz means one cycle per second. 

We are also interested in the distance of the mass (m) from its equilibrium position. At every time t, this distance is called 
the displacement, or elongation y of the swinging mass. The maximum displacement is called the amplitude (a). Since the 
periodic motion takes place in two directions (e.g., to the right and the left), y fluctuates between -a and +a, thus, -a<y<+a. 
It is useful to represent periodic motion by a graph of displacement y versus time t. 

Some periodic motions have special characteristics. Of great importance in music is simple harmonic motion, which is 
characterized by the fact that the force that drives the mass to return to its equilibrium position is proportional to the 
displacement of this mass from its equilibrium. Simple harmonic motion can be repre sented by the projection of a point p 
traveling at constant speed around a circle. The projection is a sine wave (see Fig. 2). 

When a string is set to vibrate, it produces a simple harmonic motion and transverse waves result (Fig. 2). In a transverse 
wave the medium (e.g., the string) through which the wave travels moves perpendicular to the wave's direction. Since strings 
are attached at both ends, the pulses that are generated at the starting point are for the greater part reflected at the terminal 
point, and so they travel back in opposite directions. 

If pulses are continuously added to the string, the wave becomes a complex system of going and returning pulses at the same 
time. This might create a very chaotic situation, were it not that waves traveling in the same medium but in opposite 
directions can pass through each other. The principle of linear superposition determines the behavior of this passing: the 
elongations of pulses with the same sense are added, and those of pulses with opposite sense are subtracted. This adding or 
subtracting is called constructive or destructive interference, respectively (see Fig. 3). 

The continuous pulsation of a string gives birth to yet another phenomenon. The interference of initial and reflected pulses 
will create the impression that the wave no longer moves. The result is a standing transverse wave, having nodes at points of 

I I 
I I 

I I 
I I 


I ! 
I I 

Fig. 3. The principle of constructive and destructive interference. Waves traveling in opposite directions with opposite senses (lb+2b and lc 
+2c) interfere destructively when passing through each other (3b and 3c). Waves traveling in opposite directions with equal senses (la+2a 
and ld+2d) interfere constructively when passing through each other (3a and 3d). 

Fig. 4. Standing transverse wave with nodes and antinodes. 

destructive interference with resulting displacement zero, and antinodes at points of constructive interference with the 
maximum displacement (see Fig. 4). 

The presence of nodes and antinodes allows the string to vibrate in several modes. For instance, if we consider a node that 
is in the middle, it divides the string in two halves, and the string will also vibrate as two halves, together with its basic 
vibration. This is called a mode of vibration. Typically, every mode produces its own frequency: the PARTIALS. It is obvious 
that the relative placement of the nodes and antinodes on a vibrating string follows from the character of the given pulse. 
Consequently, the pulse-shape is very important for the presence or absence of certain partials and their strengths. 

Linear superposition is not only the creating force behind the standing of waves, it also rules the final shape of the wave. 
Indeed, since a musical tone consists of simultaneous modes of vibration, the elongation of all the resulting waves will add or 
substract. A quite complex resultant waveform may arise. This resultant waveform is of course determined by the relative 
presence of the constituent partials. It is the resultant waveform that defines the tone color, (see Figs. 5a and 5b) 

Fig. 5a. Resultant wave form of the fundamental and first two overtones (third partial in dotted line). 

Fig. 5b. Resultant wave form of the first six partials of a tone. The dotted line on the graph of the resultant represents the sawtooth wave, 
which results when a great number of partials are present (in theory only after an infinite number of partials). 

The Nature of Strings and Its Implications 

The behavior of strings described above is to a large extent determined by the nature of the string used and its application. 
Very important for stringed keyboard instruments is the relation that exists between length, tension, and mass of the string. 
These relations were formulated by Marin Mersenne (1588-1648). Mersenne stated that there exist ratios between the 
frequency of a vibrating string and: 

1. its length L (fis inverse ly proportio nalt 

2. its tension T (fis directly proportional to thesquare root of T), 

3. its diameter D (f is inversely proportio nalt 

4. its linear density e (fis inverse ly proportional to the square root of e). 

Combining 1, 2, and 4 into one formula, we get / = 1/2L VT/e', where T is expressed in newton (and may sometimes well 
exceed 1 kN!), L in meters, and e in kilograms per meter. This has important implications for the stringing of the piano. If 
wire of the same kind were used (the mass stays the same) throughout the range of the instrument, with every descent of one 
octave the length of the string would have to double. An instrument with bass strings of an almost monstrous length (more 
than eight meters) would be the result. However, the frequency is inversely proportional to the square root of the density; thus 
there is no need to increase the length of the bass strings to impractical dimensions if we simply increase the diameter and 


Fig. 6. Oscillograph trace of a piano sound and the resulting envelope (the vertical dotted lines represent time units of 0.5 seconds). 

Fig. 7. Damped vibration. (The dotted curve represents the undamped vibration.) 

consequently the mass of the lower strings. This implies a tempering of the stringing scale ratio from 2:1 per octave to ratios 
fluctuating between 1.88:1 and 1.94:1. 

The tempering of the theoretical stringing scale ratio has a major inconvenience: the strings of the lower range may become 
so thick that they start to behave like rods, rather than like strings. There are several differences between vibrations of rods 
and those of strings. The most important difference in this context is the nonharmonic nature of the partials of a vibrating rod. 
Indeed, the ratio of the subsequent overtones is not 1:2:3:4:. for strings, but 3.0112:5:7:9:.... The rod's partials are not 
only nonharmonic but do not match any interval on the musical scale. In other words, bass strings would be fundamentally 
unfit, unless another solution is found to increase the mass without increasing the diameter too much. The solution is very simple: 
the strings are wrapped one or more times with copper wire. The wrapping of certain strings is only advantageous if further 
adjustments are made, since doing so changes the ratio between the mass of the string and its elasticity. For a full profit from 
the energy that is present in the vibrating string, the mass (and thus weight, dimensions, and strength) of the hammer has to 
increase. Moreover, the greater amount of energy in wrapped vibrating strings might create the desire to adjust the dimensions 
of the resonator (soundboard). The change is usually left aside and the actual dimensions of the soundboard become somewhat 


Fig. 1 1 . Decay curve AA (dichord). (Arrows indicate the wolf-resonance.) 

AA A a a 1 a 2 

fig. 12. Resonance of the soundboard. (Only (he points of highest sympathy are marked.) 

out of proportion to the amount of energy the heavy bass strings radiate. This results in a certain loss of higher partials (or 
their weakening), and the tone becomes darker and sounds very full. 

The rules of Mersenne were conceived for ideal strings vibrating in an ideal way. In reality, the nature of the string, 
especially its degree of elasticity, causes some deviations. The natural stiffness of actual strings implies some restoring force, 
when the string is curved due to its vibration. This restoring force causes the partials to shift upward as far as frequency is 


concerned. The frequency shift for the higher partials is inversely proportional to the length of the strings. This implies that 
this shift will be much more apparent for small uprights than for the CONCERT GRAND. 

The Striking of Strings 

In order to start a chain of energy, some disturbance of an equilibrium is needed. For the piano the disturbing factor is the 
hammer beating a string or a string chorus. The way the beaten string vibrates is prescribed to a high degree by both 
mechanical and pure physical (acoustical) components. Important mechanical features are the nature and behavior of hammer 
and string and the relation between them. Major acoustical phenomena are the character and placement of the contact between 
hammer and string, and the reaction of the string to this contact. The hammer strikes the string at a certain angle and 
consequently produces a pulsation of the string. The shape of this pulse depends on the shape of the hammer and the angle at 
which it strikes the string. Indeed, the sharper the angle the more "rude" the disturbance of the equilibrium of the string and 
the more discontinuous the spread of the passed energy along the string. The more discontinuous and irregular the pulse shape 
is, the greater the number and strength of higher partials becomes, and the resulting sound becomes "sharper." 

The shape of the hammer and its striking angle determine not only the degree of equality of the spread of energy 
throughout the string, but also its elasticity. Indeed, the soft surface felt allows the hammer to rest on the string during the 
whole process of giving its energy to the string. In this way, it tempers the violent disturbance of the string and forces the 
pulse-shape to be more regular. The resulting sound will comprise a more regular spreading of the strength and presence of 
overtones, especially the lower ones. The length of time the hammer rests on the string is directly proportional to the 
frequency of the string. Typically, this contact time varies between about one-fifth of a period for the bass strings and almost 
a whole period for the highest note (the actual contact time fluctuates between about 7 milliseconds for the lowest bass strings 
and about 0.2 milliseconds for the highest treble notes). Finally, there has to exist some constant ratio between the mass of the 
hammer and the mass of the string. This explains why the hammers of the lower strings are much more massive than their 
treble counterparts. Besides this difference in mass, hammers also differ in shape. The desire for more brilliance in the high 
notes has forced builders to make treble hammers harder and more pointed. 

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894; Tonempfindungen, p. 133) and many others following him stated that the ideal place 
for the hammer to strike the string was between one-seventh and one-ninth of its length, in order to avoid the seventh and 
ninth partials, for the simple reason that the seventh and ninth partials constitute the major second and minor seventh 
respectively, two notes that do not fit in the major chord. This theory, however, is not valid. The hammer does not strike the 
string at one precise point but touches a segment of the string, and analyses of piano sounds have shown that the seventh and 
ninth partials are at times very clearly present. The beating of the string between one-seventh and one-ninth of its length has 
merely practical reasons: empirically speaking it gives the best result. 

The Sounding of Piano Strings and the Passing of Their Energy to the Body of the Instrument 

Once the piano string is set in vibration, it leads a dynamic life of its own. The constant change in its quality emerges from the 
transfer of its energy via the bridge to the soundboard. Once the sound has been built up after the striking of the hammer, the 
process of decay (damping) starts. Both building up and decaying are processes of change in sound components and their 
strength and are therefore called attack transient and decay transient states. In theory the transient states are separated by a 
steady state. The actual presence of this steady state, however, is quite restricted. 

The easiest way to examine the composition of sounds is by using sound spectra. A sound spectrum is a linear image of the 
number and quality of the components of a sound and is constructed after mathematical theories of Joseph Fourier (1768— 
1830). Typically for the piano, the spectrum changes over the wide range of the piano. The differences in strength of some 
partials are the result of formants (see below) but primarily of vibration coupling with the soundboard (see below). 
Remarkable is the shift of the quantity of partials from high in the bass range (in some cases up to fifty partials can be 
detected!) to very limited in the upper treble. 

Attack Transient 

The attack transient consists of the gradual building up of the sound. For the piano, this building up happens quite fast: 
typically three to four milliseconds are needed to build up the whole spectrum of the sound. 

However, the spectra of actual piano sounds also show some continuing noises (nonharmonic compo nents) that lie 
partially beneath the frequency of the fundamental. These additional noises result from some vibrations of the soundboard 
itself, the hammer, and the strings (see below), noises provoked by the mechanical action and irregularities of the vibration 

The initial nonperiodicity of the vibration has to do with the gradual start of the several modes of vibration. This explains 
also why the maximum amplitude takes some time to establish, since the amplitude rises with the number of overtones. The 
envelope of the wave shows this clearly (the envelope is the curve indicating the change in amplitude with time: see Fig. 6). The 
increase in the number of partials is also related to the time the hammer rests on the string. For average volume this change in 
complexity of the spectrum takes place gradually and is nondetectable audibly. 

There exist outspoken differences in the number and kind of partials that are present in different sounds. In part, this can be 
explained by the character of the pulse shape given to the string by the hammer and the time the hammer rests on the string. On 
the other hand, resonance with the soundboard (see below) is also very important. For bass strings the cross stringing of the 
piano entails some enrichment of the number of partials following sympathetic coupling with the overlying string. 

Decay Transient 

As explained, the sound that emanates from a vibrating string is very dynamic. Since the sole purpose of striking strings on a 
piano is to produce sounds, the way the energy propagates from a vibrating string to the listener is very important. The rate of 
transfer of vibration from a source to the air is determined by the surface of the vibrating body. For a string this surface is of 
course extremely limited. 

It is obvious that some amplification of the vibration of the string is needed. Acoustical amplification of vibrations is 
produced by resonators, in casu the soundboard (see below). Need it be said that the transfer of the energy of the string to the 
soundboard has consequences for the behavior of both string and soundboard? 

(a) Impedance For a complete understanding of the way this transfer happens, the concept of impedance is quite important. 
In general, impedance is the ratio between a force exerted on a system and the response of the system to that force. This has 
some important implications: if transfer of energy from one system (the string) to another system (the body of the instrument) 
is meant to be optimal, the impedances of both systems ought to match each other. 

Some degree of impedance match between the string and the bridge is needed to have transfer of en ergy. However, in 
order to have a standing transverse wave, reflection of the pulses at the endpoint of the string is also needed. This implies that 
the impedance match between the string and the bridge has to be imperfect to some degree. Were this match perfect the pulse 
would go straight to the bridge and no (standing) wave would arise. On the other hand, if the impedance of the string and the 
bridge differ too much, no energy would transfer from the string to the bridge. 

(b) Damping Once a piano string has been set to vibrate, no further energy is added. Since there is a constant transfer of 
energy from the string to the soundboard, after some time the string will return to its position of equilibrium. This is the 
process of damping. 

The reasons for damping are twofold. Primarily damping arises from both friction of the air and the characteristics of the 
several parts of the instrument and their construction. On the other hand, vibrating strings themselves damp because of their 
construction, their stiffness, and irregularities in diameter and straightness. 

Damping can be considered in the first place as the gradual disappearance of the overtones, and the rate of damping 
diminishes with time. The rate of decrease of damping can be expressed by the decay halftime x. This decay halftime is the 
time needed for the amplitude to reach one-half of its initial value, and is in reality very short (less than one second). Usually, 
the decay halftime factor is not dependent on the initial amplitude, nor does its value change in subsequent lapses of time (see 
Fig. 7). 

The decreasing character of damping is very important for instruments such as the piano, whose initial amplitude is very 
strong but dissipates at a high rate. Several experiments have shown that pianos with artificial damping at constant rate sound 
very hazy, especially when chords are played. Of some importance is the fact that the dying out of the distinct partials at 
different speeds provokes a constant change in tone color, since this color is determined by the presence and relative strength 
of certain overtones. This constant change in tone color constitutes the decay transient character of the sound. Typically, the 
decay transients of the piano show that its high frequency partials damp more slowly than the lower ones. This is largely due 
to the presence of the soundboard and the use of steel as material for strings. 

The aim of piano construction has always been to create an instrument that is even in sound and quality for all ranges of its 
compass. The equalization of the degree and quality of damping throughout the compass of the instrument, however, can 
never be more than wishful thinking. The presence in one instrument of different species of strings (from very heavy 
and overspun to quite slim), and the need for both single strings and choruses of two or three strings, makes this equalization 
impossible. This leads to an exponential-like damping of some overtones, while others die out via beats (see below). 

(c) Exponential Damping The exponential process takes place in the choruses. In general, the more pure the chorus is tuned, 
the higher the degree of damping. This (undesired) effect of pure tuned di- and trichords arises because of the equal phases of 
the vibration of the two or three strings. Phase can be thought of as the fraction of a cycle that has passed, calculated from 
some point of reference, for example, the starting point of the wave. If the strings of the choruses are tuned pure, the waves 
they produce have the same phase, and the transfer of energy from the string chorus to the bridge is accentuated and 


accelerated. The sooner a vibrating system passes its energy to another system, the greater the damping effect becomes. It is 
therefore desirable not to tune di- and trichords pure. Of course, di- and trichords tuned too wide have other inconveniences, 
for example, beats (see below), where the result is that of the "barroom" piano (see Fig. 8). 

It is important to realize that the piano can be thought of as a closed system. One may wish to alter the impedance match 
between bridge and strings or to tune choruses pure to increase the speed of the energy transfer from strings to soundboard in 
order to have a louder sound. This cannot, however, be realized without increasing the damping. Diminishing the rate of 
damping, on the other hand, entails some loss of sound intensity. 

(d) Damping with beats The phenomenon of beats is yet another important feature of damping. Beats arise from the 
principle of constructive or destructive interference (see above). The sensation of beats occurs when two or more vibrations 
have frequencies that lie very close together (these vibrations can be fundamentals, but beating of overtones is also possible). 
The constant shifting of the two waves, one against the other, creates a new periodicity, determined by changes in amplitude 
and thus in sound intensity. 

Beats are periodic and as such are easily recognizable. Moreover, they can be calculated with ease, which makes them a major 
support for the empirical piano tuner (see Fig. 9). 

Beats also appear as a damping factor, especially in the lower range of the piano. This type of damping arises when the 
frequency of the string comes close to one of the frequencies of the soundboard itself, so that it takes a few moments for this 
resonator to start its own vibration, accordingly taking away a maximum of energy from the string. One can easily explain 
why this particular kind of damping occurs especially in the bass range. First of all, the frequency of the soundboard lies in 
the same frequency region as that of the bass strings, and second — and most important — bass strings may behave awkwardly. 
Indeed, due to their greater mass and stiffness, bass strings show vertical, but also horizontal oscillations, unequal in strength. 
In other words, vibrating bass strings create beats within themselves. These internal beats reinforce the beats of the damping. 

(e) Damping and Strings In the end, damping also has to do with the length of strings: long strings with smaller mass sound 
longer than shorter strings with higher mass. This explains why, for instance, a 2 on a concert grand may have a damping 
factor of 2.5 dB per second, while the same note on an upright may be damped at an average rate of 6.4 dB per second. (For 
comparison, the rustle of leaves has a sound-intensity of about 10 dB; compare Fig. 10 with Figs. 8 and 11.) 

Resonance of the Soundboard 

Resonance is the state of a system (for the piano, the soundboard) in which a large vibration is produced at the natural 
frequency response to an external vibration stimulus (the string) of the same or nearly the same frequency. If the natural 
frequency of the resonator equals the stimulating vibration, the resonance amplitude is maximal. 

As explained previously, the surface of a string is too limited to ensure an efficient radiation of the sound. For purposes of 
amplification, the vibration of the string is transferred to the soundboard via the bridge. Soundboards do not add any energy to 
the vibration, they enhance the transfer of acoustical energy to the air, producing more intensity for a shorter period of time. It 
is obvious that the form, thickness, and ribbing are very important for the particular resonance and behavior of the 
soundboard. The response of the soundboard to the vibrating string determines which components (partials) of its complex 
vibrations will become prominent and what the rate of their radiation will be. 

Formants and Wolf-Tones due to Construction 

Soundboards have their own natural frequencies, and concordance between the frequency (or partial frequency) of the string 
entails a string response to the soundboard. Particular features of all instrumental bodies are formants. Formants are frequency 
zones where the response is great. This explains partially why the spectrum of a piano sound shows differences in qualitative 
presence of some partials: the frequency of these predominant partials falls within the limits of a formant. The importance of 
formants in instruments is, however, not to be overestimated. 

Present to an even lesser degree in pianos are wolf-tones due to construction. A wolf-tone (once described as resembling 
the howling of wolves) is not to be confused with its homonym used when speaking of TUNING and temperaments. The kind 
of wolf-tone referred to in this context can be caused by either the increasing or the damping of certain frequencies, or by very 
strong resonances with frequencies a bit higher or lower than the frequency of the stimulus (see Fig. 1 1). Both kinds of wolf- 
tones result from irregularities in the wood used for the soundboard or in its construction. Sometimes, additional mechanisms 
(such as the tension resonator [see below]) may also give birth to wolf-tones. 


Sympathy of the Soundboard 

The actual response of a soundboard is very dependent on the particular instrument. In general, the points of greatest 
sympathy do not always coincide with the position of the vibrating string, neither are they always near the bridge (see 
Fig. 12). 

The phasing of the soundboard is also dependent on the particular construction of the instrument. Here it refers to whether 
or not the soundboard vibrates as a whole or rather in segments with contrasting phases (one segment moving upward as the other 
moves downward). Typically, piano soundboards do not react as a whole. There is, however, no connection between the pitch 
of the stimulating vibration and the division of the soundboard into several parts that are out of phase with each other. The 
only constant feature of the phasing is that the higher the stimulating pitch is, the more heterogeneous the reaction of the 
soundboard. A very scattered patchwork of small regions in or out of phase for the highest notes results. 

Contrary to what one might expect, the bridge and ribs have no function in dividing the surface of the soundboard as far as 
phasing is concerned. Of further interest is that at several points the ribs react out of phase (the same is true for the bridge). 
Consequently, ribs seem to have no function as far as radiation of sound is concerned. Their meaning for phasing is therefore 
only to prohibit overly heterogeneous behavior. 

Spatial Radiation 

The way the sounds of the piano are passed to the surrounding area can only be studied in connection with room acoustics. 
Leaving aside that field of research, it will be clear that the degree of radiation (measured in loudness) depends on the energy 
level of the vibrations. In the grand piano, this level is high for the bass strings and will produce, therefore, a quite 
homogeneous sound emission at all sides of the instrument (front, back, left, and right). For high notes the best radiation takes 
place at the back/right, especially in the concave part. 

Important Changes in or Additions to Construction for Reasons of Acoustical Improvement 

As one might expect, the important acoustical improvements of the piano have all had to do with the heightening of the 
acoustical strength (sound intensity and radiation) and the changing of the quality of the sound. The number of such additions 
is legion. Important are ALIQUOT SCALING, alterations of the soundboard, and registration. 

Aliquot scaling is the adding of extra strings attached to the bridge (sometimes an additional bridge is constructed for the 
aliquot strings) and tuned to the same pitch (or one octave higher) of the string they accompany. They are not struck but start 
to vibrate sympathetically. In some cases they are muted when the dampers are not lifted. 

The changing of the form, dimensions, or construction of the soundboard were historically all intended to increase the 
degree of resonance. In some cases additional mechanisms were devised. Early pianos sometimes had registers that obtained 
their specific sound character from a change in constituent partials. Nowadays PEDALS are the only STOPS that are left. 

More recently, the use of electronics has allowed fundamental changes in the concept of acoustical sound production of the 
piano. A very fine example of these kinds of evolutions is the Neo-BECHSTEIN. 


The present form and function of the piano is the result of a very long and complicated evolution. Taking into consideration 
the actual acoustical characteristics of the instrument, it seems that the greater number of the components that have to do with 
the generation, amplification, and radiation of the sound are seen in the light of dynamics and quality. This becomes even 
more apparent when we compare the piano to, for instance, the harpsichord. The general evolution is that of a change from 
instruments with small dynamic range and great number of overtones to instruments with great dynamics and a sound 
structure focused on the fundamental tone. The foregoing analysis of the acoustical functioning of the piano illustrates this. 
See also Tuning 



Askill. John. Physics of Musical Sounds. New York: D.Van Nostrand Company, 1979. 
Backus, John. The Acoustical Foundations of Music. Londo John Murray, 1970. 

Campbell, Murray, and Clive Created. The Musician's Guide to Acoustics. New York: Macmillan, 1987. 

Helmholtz, Hermann von. Die Lehrc von den T> in y in ■ i //.\ ; ' l siol, u'seln i inm • 'agi fiii die Theorie der Musik. Braunschweig: 
R.Wachsmuth, 1913 (Eng. trans.: On the Sensations of Tone, 1954. 


Palmieri, Robert. Piano Information Guide: An Ai d to Researach. New York: Garland Publishing, 1989 (Music Research and Information 

Guides, 10=Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 806): 118-23 (Bibliography). 
Rossing, Thomas D. The Science of Sound. Reading: Addis Wesley, 1982. 

White, Harvey E., and Donald H.White. Physics and Music. The Science of Musical Sound. Philadelphia: Saunders College, 1980. 

The action mechanism of a piano consists of a combination of levers that transmit the mechanical impulse, initiated by the 
performer's finger, to the HAMMERS. It is composed of key levers, transmitters, and intermediate levers. On its construction 
and efficiency depends the accuracy of conversion of mechanical impulses into sound. In contemporary actions (see Fig. 13) 
finger pressure on the KEY raises the back end of the key lever, through the CAPSTAN screw (pilot) to the intermediate lever 
(WIPPEN). The JACK (hopper) fastened to the wippen pushes the hammer KNUCKLE and propels the hammer to strike the 
STRING. When in the upper position, the jack's arm is stopped by the LET-OFF (regulating) button, the jack slips out from 
the hammer knuckle, allowing the hammer to fall back after hitting the string (an effect called single ESCAPEMENT). If the 
key is still depressed, the hammer falls back only part way, resting on its knuckle on the repetition lever. A BACK CHECK, 
fastened to the posterior part of the key lever, serves to moderate the backfall in order to avoid hammer-rebound and noise. A 
light release of the key results in the return of the jack — thanks to the jack spring pressure — to a position under the hammer 
knuckle in readiness for the next hammer stroke, from a distance shorter by half compared to the initial position (an effect 
called double escapement). The end of the key lever also raises the damper lever, which in turn raises the DAMPER, allowing 
the string to vibrate freely as long as the key is depressed. 

If one compares a contemporary action with preserved BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI actions of 1720 and 1726 (see 
Fig. 32 under Cristofori) we can see many similar elements (moveable jack, single escapement, intermediate lever, back 
check, upper damper) after 300 years. This is visible proof of Cristofori's genius. In the process of piano development there 
have been instances of "re-inventing" some of its parts that were used earlier by Cristofori. This evolution is reflected by a 
variety of actions used in different periods and in different types of pianos before the contemporary action became universal. 

Anglo-German Action (Old English Action) 

In the Anglo-German action, which is a form of STOSS-MECHANIK, the hammer was not connected to the key lever (as it 
was in the English action) but rather hinged to a rail behind the key (see Fig. 14). The hammer head pointed toward the 
keyboard (as in the Viennese [PRELLMECHANIK] action). The Anglo-German action was used in Europe in the eighteenth 
and first half of the nineteenth centuries. One of the oldest preserved examples is a Johann Socher (of Allgau) square piano 
from 1742; the latest are pianos of Johann Baptist STREICHER of Vienna from the 1840s, with an action patented by him in 

Double Repetition Action 

This is the name given to English double action with double escapement. 

Down-Strike Action 

This is the action of a horizontal piano in which the hammers strike the strings from above, downward toward the 
SOUNDBOARD. This action was devised to overcome the tendency, in the upstriking action pianos, for the strings to be 
unseated from the BRIDGE, thus losing the pitch. Furthermore, in up-striking action the soundboard has to be cut through to 
allow hammers to reach the strings. First attempts at a downstrike action are known from the early eighteenth century, for 
example, by JEAN MARIUS of Paris in 1716 and by CHRISTOPH GOTTLIEB SCHROTER of Dresden in 1721. From the 
end of that century there were many practical examples using this action. The main technical problem of the down-striking 
action was the return of the hammer to the rest position after striking the string. Two devices were used: a balancing 
counterweight of action components or a special returning spring. Actions with the spring were built as normal or repetition 
actions. Downstriking actions were built in the first half of the nineteenth century in Vienna by Nannette and Johann Streicher 
and MATTHIAS MULLER, in London by ROBERT WORNUM, in Paris by JEAN-HENRI PAPE and Jean-Georges 
Kriegelstein, in North America by THOMAS LOUD, Charles Saltonstall Seabury, and oth ers. The most advanced was an 
action patented by Pape in 1839 (see Fig. 15). Similar action was used in mass-produced pianos by Theodor Stocker of Berlin 
in the 1850s— 1860s. In the following years this type of action was discontinued. 


Fig. 13. Grand I Action (cciniciupuriir Y / iind surromidiii ^ nam hv Sicinwav A Son\. 

English Action (Stossmechanik/Striking Action) 

English action is a piano action in which the hammer is not connected to the key lever (as it is in the Viennese action) but is 
held in a rail and jacked up to the string with a strike of a key-lever projection or jack (hence, striking action). Used since the 
first decades of piano history, the oldest source is the drawing of Cristofori's action, published in 1711 by 
SCIPIONE MAFFEI, who saw it in 1709 (see Fig. 30). This type of action, with double action or without intermediate lever 
(single action), was adopted first in the German-speaking lands. After 1760, it was used in England and intensively improved, 
thus gaining the name of "English action" still in use today. 

English Double Action 

The English double action, in which the stroke of the key-lever end is transmitted to the hammer through an intermediate 
lever (wippen), has been known since the birth of the piano and was used in the oldest preserved pianos of Cristofori, from 
1720 and 1726. In the nineteenth century in almost all types of piano action, the jack was moved from the key lever to the 
intermediate lever. English double action is still used today in all types of pianos. 

English Single Action 

This is an English action in which the strike of the key lever end is transmitted to the hammer directly (without an 
intermediate lever; see Fig. 16). Known since the beginning of the eighteenth century in horizontal and vertical pianos, it has 
a projection on the key-lever (until the middle of the eighteenth century), and later, a secondary jack attached to this lever. 
This type of action went out of use by the end of the nineteenth century. 

Erard Repetition Action 



Escapement involves a combination of devices that allows the hammer to fall back after striking the string, while the key is 
still depressed. Without this "fallback," the hammer would remain in contact with the string. Some scholars give this name to 
the moveable jack, which is not precise. Escapement is the result of the particular shape of the jack (hopper), the element 
pushed by the jack (hammer knuckle, hammer BUTT, projection or end of intennediate lever), as well as the process by 
which the jack slides off this element. This kind of escapement is called single escapement and is always connected with a 
moveable type of jack. It is used in the earliest preserved pianos of Cristofori from 1720 and 1726. The later, simplified 


Fig. 13. Grand Piano Action (contemporary) and surrounding parts by Steinway & Sons. 


4-Keyframe front rail pin 

6-Balance rail stud 

8-Balance rail pin 

9A-Balance rail bearing strip 

11 -Back rail cloth 

12A-Key stop rail prop block 

14-Dag (Keyframe stop) 

15A-Key lead 


19-Key button 

21 -Capstan screw 

23-Back-check wire 

25-Action hanger 

27-Support (wippen) 

29-Support cushion 

3 1 -Tender (jack toe) 

33- Spoon 


37-Rcpetition spring 

39-Balance covering 

41 -Regulating rail 

43-Hammer rail 

45-Drop screw 


49-Undcrlever frame 

50A-Underlever frame spring punching 

52-Undcrlc\ cr llange 

53A-Underlever lead 

55-Damper wire screw 

57-Damper stop rail 

59-Damper guide rail 

61 -Damper felts 


65-Sostenuto rod 


69- Key lid pivot plate 

70- Case cornice 

3-Keyframe front rail 
5-Kcylramc front rail punching 
7-Balance rail stud 

9- Balance rail bearing 

10- Back rail 

12- Key stop rail prop 

13- Key stop rail 

15- Key 

16- Key covering 
18-Front pin bushing 
20-Balancc pin bushing 

24-Underlever (damper lever) key cushion 
26-Support (wippen) rail 
28-Support (wippen) 
30-Fly (jack) 

32-1'K ( jack) rcgulaling screw 
34-Support top flange 
36-Balancier regulating screw 
38-Repetition felt block 
40-Hammer rest 
42-Let-off screw 
44-Hammcrshank flange 
48 -Hammer 

50- Underlever frame spring 

51- Underlever frame cushion 

53- Underlever (damper lever) 

54- Underlever top flange 
56-Tab (sostcnuto tab) 
58-Damper wire 
60-Damper feelts 

64-Tuning pins 

66-Sostenuto bracket 


69A-Keylid pivot plate 

71 -Wrest plank (pinblock) 

versions of an English action had immobile jacks and no escapement. The more developed single and double actions with 
moveable jack and single escapement were made at the same time. Single English actions with single escapement were used 
until the end of the nineteenth century (although they were enhanced with a repetition device during that century). In the 
Viennese action, escapement is the result of a sliding moveable hook, which frees the hammer shank tail just before the string 
is struck by the hammer head. It was the only kind of escapement used in this type of action after it was first devised by 
JOHANN ANDREAS STEIN around 1773. The growing dimensions of the piano and its strings, along with the size and 
weight of English action components, resulted in an action that was heavy and incapable of fast repetition. Construction of 
double escapement was the result of the search for a repetition device for English double action. It was an invention of 
SEBASTIEN ERARD, who patented the first version in 1808 and a second improved one in 1821 (patented by his nephew 
Pierre in England). This action (see Fig. 17) became a prototype for the action used today with double escapement. It works 
by using the repetition lever (while the key remains depressed after the phase of single escapement), to stop the hammer after 
hitting the string, at less than half the distance from the starting point to the string. After lightly releasing the key, the jack, 
pushed by its spring, returns to its position under the hammer KNUCKLE, ready for the next stroke, which can occur much 


_________ String 

Hopper, also fly lever 

Fig. 14. Anglo-German action (developed Stossmechanik, with escapement). (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz 
Jose!" Hirl's Stringed Kcyhocird Instruments) 

more quickly, owing to the shorter distance. It offers the possibility of quick repetition. Since the 1920s and 1930s double 
escapement actions have been used in all grands. 

German Action 


Hanging Viennese Action 

This is a type of Viennese action used mostly in the German-speaking world in upright pianos (PYRAMID, GIRAFFE, 
LYRE, and others) during the first half of the nineteenth century. The hammer shank is placed vertically, as in standing 
Viennese action, but beneath the level of the keyboard (as in the spinet), attached to the bent-down end of the key lever (see 
Harding, p. 233, for illustration). 

Mechanique a double Echappement 



Old English Action 


Fig. 16. English Grand Action by John Broadwood & Sons, 1795. A=Screw to regulate escapement; B=Hammcr shank attached to a screw 
for removal; C=Damper rail; D=Pivot; E=Spring; F=Escapement; G=Check; H=Tuning pins; J=Spring; K=Iron arc; L=Damper. (Courtesy 
of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 

Fig. 17. Repetition Action with Double Escapement by Erard, 1822. l=Key; 2=Intermediate lever; 3=Escapement; 4= Jack; 4bis=Projection 
on jack; 5=Escapement pilot; 6=Hammer shank head; 7=Hammer head; 8=Check; 9=Check shank ; 10=Hammer rest; 1 l=Hammcr fork; 
12=Repetition screw; 13=ReguIating button (regulating the height of escapement); 14=1 lopper regulator (to guide the hammer); I 5~ Siring; 
16=Damper; 17=Pedal spring. (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 



Repetition Action 

This refers to any action that gives the possibility of quick repetition of hammer stroke. 

Single Repetition Action 

This is a single English grand action with added pushing and sliding units (besides the jack's spring) to accelerate the return 
of the jack under the hammer knuckle before the next strike to the string. Many types of this action were constructed in the 
1840s as alternatives to the double repetition action. The most recent was an action patented in 1844 by Jean-Georges 
Kriegelstein of Paris, used in European pianos until World War I 

Standing English Action 

Standing English action is an action used in UPRIGHTS since the beginning of the eighteenth century. The oldest preserved 
examples are: an anonymous piano from 1735, the piano of DOMENICO DEL MELA [di Gagliano] from 1739 (see Fig. 18), 

Fig. 18. Upright Pianoforte Action by Domenico Del Mela, 1739. A=Sticker (jack); B=One of two guide wires; C=Damper spring; 
D=Damper; E=String. (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 

and pianos of CHRISTIAN ERNST FRIEDERICI of Gera from the 1740s. This type of action stems from the grand action 
invented by Cristofori around 1698-1700. The main development of standing English action took place in the first half of the 
nineteenth century. First, it was mainly a single action with jack attached to the key lever, similar to the action of 
JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS of Philadelphia (1800), that of ROBERT WORNUM of London (1811), and that of 
JOHANN CHRISTIAN SCHLEIP of Berlin (ca. 1825). Next came double actions with the jack moved to an intermediate 
lever. Introduced simultaneously was a tapecheck device (Hermann Lichtenthal of Brussels in 1832; Wornum, 1842). 
Together they provided the basis of today's upright piano action. However, today's upright action differs from the archetype, 
among other things by changing the jack feather spring to the spiral spring, used for the first time in the grand double 
escapement action patented by Antoine-Jean-Denis Bord of Paris in 1846. Until the last decades of the nineteenth century the 
standing English action was used with upper dampers; by the twentieth century with lower dampers only (see Fig. 19). 

Standing Viennese Action 

This is a type of Viennese action used mostly in the German-speaking world in upright pianos (pyramid, giraffe, lyre, and 
others) in the first half of the nineteenth century. The hammer shank is placed vertically, and the return of the hammer after 
striking the string is secured by a spring attached to the hammer shank's tail. 

Sticker Action 

Sticker action is a type of English action for the tall upright piano, with a PINBLOCK in the upper part of the instrument. It was 
typical for CABINET PIANOS, made mostly in England from 1798, when it was patented by WILLIAM SOUTHWELL, 
until the 1830s. Placed very high and far from the key levers, the hammers were jacked up by the stickers (rods), whose length 
reached up to 70 centimeters. In its primitive form, the 1798 action had no escapement (the sticker was used as a jack). In 
1807 Southwell patented an improved action using a jack and an intermediate lever, which pushed the sticker, thus allowing 
escapement. In 1 82 1 a hammer back check was added. A similar action was used by the French firm Pfeiffer et Cie in its 



Rail " 

Fig. 19. Upright (Vertical) Piano Action (contemporary) by Baldwin. 

upright called "Harmomelo." A type of sticker action has been used since the earliest preserved upright up to the high 
uprights of today, with stickers up to 20 centimeters long. 



Tangent Action 

This is an action where the hammers are hung vertically in a kind of harpsichord box that allows them to slide and be jacked 
up by the back ends of the key levers (usually with intermediate levers), like harpsi chord jacks (see illustration under 
Tangent Piano). The name is derived from the clavichord action, though the sound is like that of soft pianos of the same period 
— pianos with a limited dynamic range but with a dolce sound. Tangent action is associated with the oldest prototypes of 
piano action, for example, "dulce melos," described by Heinrich Arnold von Zwolle ca. 1440. Jean Marius presented to the 
Paris Royal Academy of Science in 1716 a design of a hammer harpsichord action whose construction was related directly to 
the clavichord (wooden hammers attached vertically to the ends of the key levers). Christoph Gottlieb Schroter of Dresden 
designed a tangent action in 1717, and one with intermediate levers in 1739. In 1759 Weltman of Paris invented a clavecin 
with jacks (marteaux) that struck the strings. There are some preserved Italian tangent pianos, one from ca. 1767-1773 and a 
harpsichord converted into a tangent piano at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1774 JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN in London 
patented a harpsichord with a second set of tangent hammers. About the same time Franz Jacob SPATH of Ratisbon 
(Regensburg) constructed a tangent action. However, the date remains imprecise because the only preserved tangent pianos 
made by the Spath and Schmahl firm were made after 1790 by Spath's son-in-law and former partner, Christoph Friedrich 
SCHMAHL. There is a SQUARE PIANO with tangent action made in 1774 by Jan Skorski of Sandomierz (Poland), and a 
similar piano made ca. 1780-1790, which is probably by Skorski or his pupil. In 1787 Humphrey Walton in England patented 
a tangent action for a grand. In Madrid, a type of square tangent piano was noted at a sale the same year, and another tangent 
piano was up for sale in 1797. Tangent pianos were made in Germany, Poland, and Italy in the last three decades of the 
eighteenth century. Because of their weak sound this action was discontinued. 


Fig. 20. Upright Tape-Check Action by Wornum, 1 842-52. A=Wippen; B=Escapement regulation screw; C=Leather tape connecting hammer 
butt with wire on wippen accelerating return of hammer; D=Damper; E=String; F=Damper lifter; G=Damper spring; H=Check; 
J=Escapement. (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 

Tape-Check Action 

Tape-Check action has a tape connecting the hammer butt with the intermediate lever to counteract hammer bounce after the 
string is struck and before the hammer head is caught by a check. This device was first used by Matthias Miiller of Vienna in 
1800 in his upright called "DITANAKLASIS." Herman Lichtenthal of Brussels patented an upright piano action using 
LEATHER tape in 1832. Tape-check action became popular thanks to Robert Wornum of London, who used it in grands in 
1838 and in uprights in 1842 (see Fig. 20). He changed the leather tape to fabric. This type of action is used in all uprights 

See also Wornum, Robert 

Viennese Action (Prellmechanik/German) 

In this type of action the hammer is connected directly to the key lever with a parchment hinge, a common axle or Kapsel (a 
kind of fork with beds for the hammer's axle). When pressed, the key lever goes up and simultaneously the hammer's tail is 
stopped by a fixed rail, thus flipping the hammer head to the string. This kind of action was used in the German-speaking 


world from about the middle of the eighteenth century. (For a detailed description and illustration of the Viennese action see 
the separate topic of PRELLMECHANIK.) 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Tniced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 

Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Kcnyon de Pascual, Beryl. "The Five-Octave Compass in Eighteenth-Century Harpsichords." Early Music 15 (February 1987): 74-5. 
van dcr Meer, John Henry. "A Curious Instrument with a Five-Octave Compass." Early Music 14 (August 1986): 397-400. 
."Observations. " Early Music 15 (February 1987): 75-6. 

Vogel, Benjamin. "Two Tangent Square Pianos in Poland." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society XX ( 1 ( )94): S4 9. 
ADLUNG, JAKOB (1699-1762) 

Jakob Adlung was born in Bindersleben, Erfurt, on 14 January 1699, and died there 5 July 1762. He was an eclectic 
personality: theologian, scholar, musician, and musical instrument maker. In 1736 his house and all his belongings were 
destroyed by fire, including his workshop, the large storage of wood for musical instruments, and many of his books. In his 
autobiography he mentions, starting around 1728, having built sixteen instruments. After the big fire in Erfurt he gave up his 
former profession as an artisan because of the prejudices of scholars against musicians and artisans. He taught philosophy, 
mathematics, and philology. In 1755 he was awarded a degree as an ordinary member of the Erfurt Academy of Sciences. 
After that he contributed scientific, musical, and mathematical articles to the local periodicals. 

His three surviving works in musical literature are: 

Atdeiltmg zur iniisikitlischcn Gchihrtheit, Erfurt, 

1. 1758, with a preface by Johann Ernst Bach; second edition, 1777, edited by Johann Adam Hiller. This is a general 
encyclopedic treatise on musical knowledge, containing a large section about musical instruments, with didactic and 
informational purposes. 

2. Musica Mecluniicti Oiganocdi. das ist: Grim- dlicher Unterricht von der Struktur, Gebrauch iitnl Erhallimg der Orgeln, 
Gluvicyinhel, Claviclwrdien, und andere Instrumente, in zwey Theilen, Berlin, 1768, posthumous; two volumes on the 
structure, history, and ACOUSTICS of musical instruments, with the addition of a translation of the organ treatise by 
Bedos de Celles, and the autobiography of Adlung; additions by Johann Lorenz Albrecht and Johann Friedrich Agricola. 

3. Musikalisches Sie'ncngeslirn, das ist: Siebenzur edlen Tonkunst gehdrige Fragen, Berlin, 1768. The first two treatises reflect 
the intense contemporary research on keyboard instruments to conceive new models with the purpose of enriching the 
timbral effect. The author emphasizes the structural shape of the "instromento" (square instrument) and its vertical 
variant (clavicytherium); he describes the available mechanics of that time — plucked, with tangents, pipes, hammers, and 
pantaleon — and also examines the different registers. 

In his Musica Mechanica Organoedi, chapter 529, Adlung describes the early piano invented in Florence by 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, using the article and drawing by SCIPIONE MAFFEI (Giornale de' Letterati d 'Italia, 1711) 
and the German version by Johann Ulrich Konig quoted in Johann Mattheson's Critica Musica. Adlung's concern is to focus 
on the structural features of the inverted wrestplank type of instrument. He writes that the sound is more agreeable at a certain 
distance from the instrument. The sound is stronger or weaker depending on the strength of the musician's touch. He points 
out the correct use of the instrument for camera music and not for musica forte, and that all the friction points of the 
instrument are damped by LEATHER or fabric. Adlung also mentions the sympathetic effect of the string vibration. 



Adlung, Jakob. Anleitung zurmusikalischen Gelahrtheit. Erfurt: J.D.Jungnicol, 1758. Facs.Kassel und Basel: Barenreiter, 1953. 

Musica Mechanica Organoedi. das ist: Griindlichcr I ntcrricht von dcr Struktur. Gelvauch und Erlialtimg der Orgeln, Clavicymbel, 

Clavichordien, und andere Instrumente, in zwey Theilen. Berlin: Friedrich Wilhclm Bimstiel, 1768. Facs.Kassel und Basel: 

Barenreiter, 1961. 

Hiller, Johann Adam. Lebensbeschreibungen berumter Musikgelehrten und Tonkunstler neuerer Zeit. Leipzig: Verl age Dytischen 

Buchhandlung, 1784. Reprint. Leipzig: Edition Peters, 1975. 
Musik in GeschiclitL und Gegemviirt. Kassel und Ba^el: Baicn-reiter, 1949-1979. 


The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan; Washington D.C.: Grove's Dictionaries, 


The Aeolian Company, an American manufacturer of organettes (small hand-turned automatic reed instruments played, 
usually, by perforated paper rolls), reed organs, pianos, and PLAYER PIANOS, was created by William Burton Tremaine 

It was a skilled cabinetmaker and musician by the name of Tremaine who is credited with the manufacture of the first 
keyboard instruments in New York, producing spinets and harpsichords. Spillane recounts a harpsichord of "a most agreeable 
and melodious volume and tone character" that was in use at the old John Street Theatre in 1759 at a benefit concert. 
Although this particular Tremaine became a musical director and actor, his great-great-grandson was to found the New York 
piano-manufacturing business of Billings & Tremaine around 1852. William Tremaine entered the family piano business, 
Billings & Tremaine (later Tremaine Brothers), in New York in 1868 but left around 1876 when Mason J.Mathews, an 
inventor of small hand-cranked automatic reed organs, created his first saleable product. Tremaine set up The Mechanical 
Orguinette Company to manufacture the small instrument, and in 1883 a small automatic reed organ was produced under the 
name Aeolian Organ. All these instruments played music from perforated paper rolls made by the Automatic Music Paper 
Company of Boston (AMPC). He bought AMPC and its patents in 1888 and, four years later, acquired the Munroe Organ 
Reed Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, a large manufacturer of not just organettes but the vibrating free reeds 

In 1895 Tremaine introduced the Aeriol self-playing piano, but it was not until Edwin Scott Votey, inventor of the practical 
piano-player, joined the business in 1897 that serious work on piano players was begun, and later this was expanded to 
include player pianos, REPRODUCING PIANOS, and reproducing pipe organs. 

By 1903 a new company had been floated called the Aeolian, Weber Piano & Pianola Company, which was capitalized at 
$10 million. It comprised the amalgamation of a number of firms besides those already mentioned and included The Aeolian 
Company, New York; the Orchestrelle Company, London; the Choralion Company, Berlin; the Aeolian Company, Paris; the 
Pianola Company Pty. Ltd., Melbourne and Sydney; WEBER PIANO COMPANY; George Steck & Company; Wheelock 
Piano Company; Stuyvesant Piano Company; Chilton Piano Company; Technola Piano Company; Votey Organ Company; 
Vocalion Organ Company; and the Universal Music Company, this last being a maker of perforated paper music rolls for 
pneumatically played pianos. These companies employed among them five thousand people worldwide and, besides extensive 
piano factories in America, included the Steck factory at Gotha, Germany, and Weber at Hayes in Middlesex, England. This 
latter became the Aeolian Company's main British factory. The total capital under Tremaine's control was $15.5 million — 
more than the capital invested in the entire piano and organ industry in the United States in 1890. 

William Tremaine was succeeded as president of the business by his son Henry Barnes Tremaine (born Brooklyn, 1866; 
died Washington, D.C., 1932). Henry was general manager until 1898 when he became president. It was he who perfected the 
so-called Audio-Graphic music roll, which provided the player with extensive written historical notes on the music, actually 
printed on the paper roll. Aeolian was famed for its player piano for which it registered the trade name Pianola. While other 
makers capitalized on the concept, choosing similar-sounding names that ended in "ola," the name "Pianola" is the one which 
to this day is the lay generic term for any make of player piano. From the Pianola it developed the DUO-ART reproducing 
piano. Aeolian's early prowess in reed organs was sustained in the self-playing Orchestrelle, developed using the technology 
of the Vocalion Organ Company (originally set up by Scotsman James Baillie-Hamilton), while the Duo-Art capability 
spawned the Aeolian Duo-Art Reproducing Pipe Organ. 

After the Depression of the late 1920s, the fortunes of Aeolian deteriorated and the British company was forced to liquidate 
— a process that took almost twenty years to complete, due to the intervention of World War II. In 1932 Aeolian merged with 



Bow crs. Q.David, tucvclopediii of . lutoinatic Musiail Instruments. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1972. 
Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. 

. Men Who Made Piano History [original title, Pianos and Their Makers, vol. 2, Dew lopmenl <>t the I'hitio Industry in America Since 

the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia, 1876]. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1913. Reprint. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 

Ord-Hume, Arthur J.G. Player Piano — History of the Mechanical Piano. London: Allen & Unwin, 1970. 

. Pianola — History and Development ...London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

Roehl, Harvey. Player Piano Treasury. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1961 and 1973. 

Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America, 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

Fig. 21. Agraffes. 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the Americ an Tianofor tc: Its Technical Development and the Trade. New York: D.Spillanc, 1890. Reprint. 
New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Aftertouch is the term to describe the amount of keydip beyond the point of LET-OFF. It is usually specified to be from . 
015" to .060". The proper amount of aftertouch is essential for maximizing control and dynamics through the TOUCH of the 
piano. The lack of sufficient aftertouch will create a KEYBOARD that feels weak, shallow, and lacking in power. 

See also Regulation; Touchweight 



The agraffe is a brass guide that spaces and levels the STRINGS. Agraffes are equipped with one, two or three holes, 
corresponding to the number of strings in the unison. They are screwed into the metal plate at the tuning pin end of the 
stringing scale in most GRAND PIANOS. Invented by SEBASTIEN ERARD in 1808, and still in use today, the agraffe holds 
the strings in a fixed position, assuring counterpressure against the blow of the HAMMER, while permitting the strings to be 
moved laterally during tuning. The agraffe also provides DOWNBEARING and marks off the speaking length of the strings. 
Agraffes were often used throughout the scale in the nineteenth century. In most pianos built since 1900, the agraffes are 
replaced in the high treble by a capo tasto bar cast in the PLATE. 



Good, Edwin M.Giraffes, BlackDragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 
Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973. 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
ALBRECHT, CHARLES (1760-1848) 

Charles Albrecht was the first important piano builder in the United States. He was a German immigrant who settled in 
Philadelphia in the 1780s. Albrecht worked as a joiner at first but by 1789 he began to build pianos. His shop was at 95 Vine 
Street until 1825 when he moved to 3 South Third Street. During the same year (1825) Christian L.Albrecht (1788-1843), 
whose relationship is uncertain, started his own piano business at 98 Sassafras (later renamed Race Street). 

Charles Albrecht built SQUARE PIANOS with a five-octave to five-and-one-half-octave range. The younger Albrecht also 
built square pianos and UPRIGHT PIANOS, each with a six-octave compass. Both men built high-quality instruments, 
excellent in ACTION and CASEWORK. At least seven or eight pianos that Charles Albrecht built before 1800 are still in 
existence. One of these, built about 1785 with serial number 24, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection. The Smith- 
sonian collection contains Albrecht pianos built around 1790 and 1798. 

The surviving Albrecht pianos show a surprising diversity in design. The most important difference is in the type of action 
they contain. Charles Albrecht built pianos with the English double action, the ZUMPE second action, one with an intermediate 
lever, and the Viennese PRELLMECHANIK. Other differences, in the damper mechanism, use of knee levers, foot PEDALS 
or hand stops, and alignment of STRINGS, are copies of details that appeared in earlier pianos by other makers. Albrecht' s main 
contribution to American piano making was his elevation of the standards of craftsmanship. 



Fig. 22. Duplex Scale by Steinway & Sons. a. Shows sectional view of capo d'astro bar and bearing of chilled Steinway steel, which forms 
the dividing point between the main scale and the added duplex scale, b. Shows the added duplex scale, c. Shows the fundamental 
vibrations (pulses) of the main scale in combination with its harmonic subdivisions, caused by the impulse of the added duplex scale, d. 
Shows sectional \ iew of the soundboard bridge, w hieh transmits the transverse vibrations (pulses) of the strings lo the soundboard, which 
vibrates (pulses) molecularly. (Steinway & Sons duplex scale from the 1888 Steinway Catalogue) 


Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in The Metro-politiin Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and 

W.W.Norton and Company, 1985. 
. Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1985. 

Spillane. Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development ana the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New 
York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Aliquot Scaling is a stringing arrangement for the piano whereby the power and beauty of the treble register is supposedly 
enhanced by adding overtone luster from the sympathetic vibrations of additional STRINGS or by allowing the waste lengths 
of the strings, which are normally muted with cloth, to vibrate in sympathy with the speaking length. When a piano string 
vibrates it produces both a fundamental tone and overtones. The aliquot scale and the DUPLEX SCALE seek to reinforce 
certain PARTIALS in the overtone series, particularly in the treble register where the strings are short and stiff. In 1873 the 
BLUTHNER Company invented a GRAND PIANO stringing SCALE with a separate, sympathetic aliquot string for each 
unison in the treble. In 1872 STEINWAY invented the duplex scale (U.S. Patent No. 126,848), in which "the front duplex 
scale assists mechanically in a more rapid subdivision of the usual speaking length into its segmental vibrations, strengthening 
the harmonic partials. In addition, the rear duplex scale vibrates in sympathy with its corresponding partial tones (in the main 
portion of the string), thus producing overtones that lend brightness and color to the fundamental tone." In the 1880s the short- 
lived Ithaca Piano Company produced a few full duplex pianos with two metal PLATES and two complete sets of strings; one 
set sounded normally with the HAMMER action while the other strings, controlled by a long, continuous damper, were free to 
vibrate and reinforce the sound sympathetically. 



Good, Edwin M.Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Steinway & Sons. Pianoforte Catalogue. New York: Steinway, 1888. 
ALLEN, WILLIAM (fl. 1800-1840) 

William Allen was a Scotsman who came to London and worked as a tuner for the Stodart firm of piano makers early in the 
nineteenth century. His importance in the history of piano making lies in his role in the introduction of metal to strengthen the 
FRAME of the wooden piano. With James Thom, the foreman at Stodart's, he devised a system of metal tubes running 
parallel to the STRINGS with wooden bars at right angles, using brass above the bass brass strings and iron above the iron 
strings (British Patent no. 4,431 of 15 January 1820). The aim, which succeeded, was to compensate for atmospheric changes 
affecting the TUNING, because the tubes expanded or contracted at the same rate as the strings. WILLIAM STODART, who 
bought the PATENT, could have used it to block all the development of resistance bars by other manufacturers, but he let it 
be known that he did not intend to do so. Stodart's built many GRAND PIANOS with this frame and underdampers; the 
volume of these pianos was greater because the frame made thicker strings possible. 


Allen patented a cast-iron frame (somewhat similar to ALPHEUS BABCOCK'S 1825 design) on 20 July 1831 (British 
Patent No. 6,140). It had dovetailed grooves that were intended to make the TUNING PINS less liable to slip so that the 
instrument would stay better in tune. Unfortunately this idea was not adopted. 

See also Thorn, James 



The American Piano Company was formed in June 1908, an amalgamation of CHICKERTNG & SONS of Boston; 
WM.KNABE & COMPANY of Baltimore; the Haines Brothers; Marshall & Wendell; Foster & Company; Armstrong; 
Brewster; and J.B.Cook companies. The Foster- Armstrong Company had been formed in 1894 by George C.Foster and 
W.B.Armstrong; in 1899 it acquired the Marshall & Wendell Piano Company of Albany and in 1906 built a new plant at East 
Rochester, New York. With the acquisition of the other firms noted above, it was incorporated with a capital of $12 million. 
With such a diverse array of piano names, the American Piano Company was able to offer a wide spectrum of instruments, 
from pianos of concert quality to those of a strictly commercial grade. Responding to the burgeoning interest in the 
PLAYER PIANO, the company established a special player-piano department in 1909, and a sophisticated reproducing 
mechanism with the name AMPICO was later developed to meet competition from AEOLIAN' S DUO-ART, and to a lesser 
extent, the WELTE Mignon. In 1924 the company absorbed the MASON & HAMLIN PIANO COMPANY, which was in 
turn sold to the Aeolian Company in 1930. In the same year the American Piano Company became the American Piano 
Corporation, and in 1932, after divesting itself of many of its holdings in the interests of economy, merged with its arch-rival, 
the Aeolian Company. In this much-reduced form, the Aeolian- American Company survived the depression of the 1930s, 
taking part in the resurgence of interest in the piano by producing the newly introduced SPINET and CONSOLE pianos. In 
1959 the company was acquired by Winter and Company, and in 1961 the name "American" was dropped from the 
company's title. In 1985 the remanent Aeolian Corporation went out of business, and the American Piano Company's three 
leading piano names, Chickering, Knabe, and Mason & Hamlin, passed to other hands. 

The company's leading brands are still in production, although built by other makers. The Chickering is built in the United 
States by Baldwin as a second-level grand piano. The Knabe is manufactured by the South Korean piano maker 
YOUNG CHANG at its factories in South Korea and Tianjin, China. Mason & Hamlin is owned by Kirk and Gary Burgett, 
owners of the PianoDisk company, makers of electronic player pianos equipment. The Mason & Hamlin is produced to 
specifications in use when the piano's quality was at its highest, about 1881-1937, and the Mason & Hamlin was generally 
thought to be STEINWAY'S foremost competitor, if not its equal. The instrument is produced by the Mason & Hamlin Piano 
Company, with factories at Haverhill, Massachusetts, and Sacramento, California. 



"Aeolian Corp. Shortens Name." The Piano Trade Magazine (July 1961): 71. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Company, 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, edited by Stanley Sadie. "American Piano Co." London: Macmillan; Washington D.C.: 

Grove's Dictionaries, 1984. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America , 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

The Ampico Corporation was established in New York in 1915 by the AMERICAN PIANO CORPORATION (itself 
incorporated in June 1908), from whose name Ampico was derived. Ampico was created to develop and market a 
REPRODUCING PIANO using a system first invented in 1913 by Charles Fuller Stoddard (born ca. 1879) and later improved 
upon by Dr. Clarence N.Hickman (born ?; died New York, May 1981) and John Anderson from CHICKERING During 
1925, Hickman developed a machine for recording the dynamics of the piano using a spark chronograph technique. 

The first Stoddard- Ampico was introduced in 1916 and was also known at one time as the Ampico-Artigraphic. Although at 
first there was a foot-pedalled UPRIGHT (called the Marque -Ampico), all subsequent Ampico reproducing pianos were 
provided with electrically driven pneumatic actions. The popular Model A, which exists in by far the greatest numbers, was 
introduced in 1920-1921, and the Model B, the production of which was virtually halted by the Depression, came along in 

Unlike its rival American reproducing piano, the DUO-ART, Ampico actions were to a great extent standardized and mass- 
produced so that almost all installations were identical. Very few upright installations are known. 

The Ampico action was available for being fitted to a wide variety of GRAND PIANOS, including those made by 
companies within the American Piano Corporation's portfolio (such as KNABE & COMPANY, Haines Brothers, 
Franklin, MASON & HAMLIN, Marshall & Wendell, Chickering, and J & C Fischer). It was also fitted in a variety of 


Fig. 23. One of the most successful of all reproducing pianos was the American Ampico. Electrically operated, the action was fitted into 
some of the finest pianos in the world. Shown here is an installation in a Grotrian-Steinweg. The player action is contained in a drawer 
which can be pushed back to be out of sight under the keyboard. 

Marshall & Rose, and Rogers, while in Canada it was also installed in Willis instruments. In 1932 the company merged with 
Aeolian (see Fig. 23 p. 250). 
See also Jonas Chickering 



Bow crs, Q.David. Lncvclopcdia of Automatic Musical Instalments. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1972. 
Howe, Richard J. The Ampico Reproducing Piano. St. Paul, Minn.: MBSI, 1988. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola — History & Development. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America, 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

The ancestors of the piano may be classified into two types: those played by plucking and those played by striking the 
strings. The development of both of these types of instruments can be traced through two distinct stages: those that do not 
have a KEYBOARD and those that do. 

The earliest ancestors of the piano were the harp and the lyre, found in various sizes and shapes in most early civilizations. 
The psaltery, a modification of these instruments, employs the same plucking method of activating the STRINGS, but its 


invention introduced a different string-to-SOUNDBOARD relationship. Instead of the strings being connected directly into 
the soundboard, the psaltery's strings are parallel to the soundboard, and the two are connected by a fixed BRIDGE that 
transmits the vibrations of the string. 

The dulcimer, similar in most ways to the psaltery, has an innovation that influenced the design of the piano centuries later. 
Rather than being activated by plucking, the strings are struck with small, hand-held mallets. 

The development of the monochord during the sixth century B.C. had a direct effect on the design of the psaltery and the 
dulcimer. The monochord's construction is similar except that it has only one string, and the bridge is moveable rather than 
being in a fixed position. It was used by Greek philosophers, notably Pythagoras (ca. 550 B.C.), for experiments regarding the 
mathematical relations of musical sounds, for the tuning of other instruments, and centuries later in churches as an instrument 
to give PITCHES for choral singing. The idea of the moveable bridge used in conjunction with a keyboard influenced the 
invention of the clavichord several centuries later. 

The keyboard was first used on a stringed instrument, the organistrum, in the twelfth century A.D. Known today as the 
hurdy-gurdy, this ingenious instrument has several strings resting against a resined wheel, which is turned by a crank, setting 
the strings in motion. Some of the strings are open, providing a drone accompaniment to a melody played on a small keyboard 
that, presses tangents against the other strings. 

During the fourteenth century a keyboard was combined with a psaltery-like instrument, producing the clavicytherium. Its 
strings are stretched over a boxlike structure and are sounded by plectra fastened to the ends of the KEYS. Efforts to improve 
this instrument, along with the influence of the moveable bridge of the monochord, resulted in the invention of the clavichord 
during the fifteenth century. 

The clavichord has strings that are made to vibrate not by plucking or by striking with mallets, but by being struck with a 
tangent that remains in contact with the string during the vibration. The tangent is a small metal blade fastened in the back of 
the key. Toward the end of the sixteenth century the clavichord was so much improved that it became the favorite keyed 
instrument of the period, and it maintained this popularity even during the eighteenth century. The damper principle of the 
clavichord, and its capability of being played expressively, were some of the improvements that were later incorporated into 
the piano. 

The plucking method of the harp and psaltery, the plucking keyboard of the clavicytherium, and the rectangular design of 
the clavichord were combined during the sixteenth century to produce the spinet and the virginal, the first members of the 
harpsichord family. Although the shape and size of the spinet, virginal, and harpsichord are quite different, all three instruments 
function with the same principle of a plectrum mounted in a JACK that rests on the rear end of each key. This unique feature 
of the harpsichord is also its disadvantage, because regardless of the manner in which a key is played, the timbre or the 
loudness of the sound cannot be affected. 

Despite the continued popularity of the clavichord, dissatisfaction with its tiny sound and with the harpsichord's 
incapability of being played with full dynamic expression led to experiments in the modification of the harpsichord by 
harpsichord builders near the end of the sixteenth century. While the size, shape, and design of the harpsichord were virtually 
unchanged, the plucking action was replaced with a HAMMER action, making it possible to produce gradations of loudness 
ranging from piano to forte, and thus bringing into existence the first gimvtvmhalo col piano e forte, or "harpsichord with 
soft and loud." 



Dobronic-Mazzoni, Rajka. The Harp. Zagreb, Yugoslavia: Grafici zavod Hrvatske, 1989. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Pub. Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Ehrlich, Cyril. "Introduction." InThe Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint: New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Hollis, Helen Rice. The Piano. New York: Hippocrcnc Books, 1975. 

Rimbault, Edward F. The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Progress, and Construction. London: Robert Cocks & Co., 1860. 
Sumner, W.L. The Pianoforte. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966. 
VVainw right, David. The Piano Makers. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1975. 





The apythmolamproterique was an UPRIGHT PIANO presented in 1834 at the Paris Exhibition. Its inventor remains 
unknown. A special feature of the apythmolamproterique was its lack of a back; thus it was said that a much clearer sonority 
was obtained. 



Pontecoulant, Organographie. Reprint. Amsterdam: Frits Knuf, 1972. 

Astin- Weight is the oldest independently owned piano manufacturer in North America. Founded in 1959 by Ray Astin and 
Don Weight in Salt Lake City, this small company makes very unusual, high-quality, hand-built pianos. The company claims 
that "no other UPRIGHT PIANO has the quality and size SOUNDBOARD." The uprights have no back posts, relying instead 
on a full perimeter iron FRAME, with the soundboard mounted behind the wrest plank instead of underneath, in order to 
increase its active area. Astin-Weight makes two models, a 41 -inch upright utilizing a Langer ACTION, and a 50-inch upright 
employing a Schwander action. Because of their height, these uprights have longer STRINGS and a larger soundboard than a 
conventional vertical piano. Indeed, the soundboard of the 50-inch upright model is 2,770 square inches, compared to the 
soundboard of BALDWIN'S 9-foot CONCERT GRAND piano, which is 2,716 square inches. These qualities allow the 
company to employ an old, if somewhat confusing, term in the piano trade, "upright grand," that is, an upright that sounds 
comparable to a GRAND. People typically describe the Astin-Weight as having a "big, grand-piano sound," noting how 
"loud" these uprights are compared to conventional vertical pianos. At one time the company also produced a 5-foot 9-inch 
grand piano, unusual in having the LID hinged on the treble side. Its shape was also odd in that both sides were curved so as 
to position the bass BRIDGE to allow for longer — indeed, 18 inches longer — strings than a conventional design. The 
company's website indicates that only the two upright models are currently in production, and Don Weight confirms that 
there are no plans to start production of the grand model again. 



Astin-Weight Piano Makers Internet Homepage: (http://iyp. 

Fine, Larry. THE PIANO BOOK. 4th ed. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 2000. See also his Annual Supplement to the Piano Book. 
Pianos Online: ( "Manufacturer Directory: Astin-Weight." An Internet resource offering extensive piano information, 

including up-to-date historical profiles of piano manufacturers and their trademarks worldwide. 
PianoWorld ( "Piano World Forums." This site offers discussion forums among piano tuners, pianists, and customers 

regarding all piano brands, including Astin-Weight. The forums are easily accessed by search engine. 

George Peter Astor (1752-1813) operated a shop in London that sold various musical merchandise and musical 
instruments, including pianos. Born in Germany, he immigrated to London about 1778 and was followed a year later by his 
brother, John Jacob Astor (1763- 1848). The firm operated under the name "George & John Astor" and was located at 26 
Wych Street until 1797. In 1783, early in the development of the firm, John Jacob Astor began traveling to the newly formed 
United States of America to sell pianos and flutes. He established a shop at 81 Queen Street (now Pearl Street) in New York 
City, which at the time was the heart of the music and furniture business, with many craftsmen residing in the area. 

Having met a furrier on board ship on one of his journeys to the United States, John Jacob Astor subsequently became 
involved in the highly profitable fur trade, launching his business in 1784. In the late 1790s he phased out of the piano 
business and, aside from importing pianos occasionally to pay his bills, the fur trade became his main enterprise. He 
established fur trading stations in the north and northwestern parts of the United States and thereby amassed an immense 

After his brother's departure, George Astor continued to develop his own dealership in London. In 1797 operations were 
moved from the Wych Street address to 79 Cornhill, after which time the company's instruments are marked either "George 
Astor" or "George Astor and Co." (occasionally "Astor & Co."). A second shop was opened at 27 Tottenham Street and the 
business expanded into publishing sheet music and instruction manuals for the flute. In 1815, still at the same locations, the 
name "Astor & Horwood" was adopted, and in 1822 "Astor & Co." In 1824 the name was changed again to "Gerock, Astor & 
Co." continuing under that name until 183 1. 

It has been suggested that during his early years in London, Astor trained with the woodwind maker George Miller. Indeed, 
a large number of the surviving instruments bearing Astor' s name are woodwinds. As business grew, it is likely that Astor 


became less involved with the production of individual instruments, employing other craftsmen to accomplish their 
manufacture. At the time it was not uncommon for a dealer to contract others to build the instruments that were sold at his 
shop. It is not known to what degree Astor himself was involved with the construction of his pianos. In his book, Broadwood 
by Appointment, David Wainwright recounts a transaction with the BROADWOOD firm, when on 1 6 July 1 796 John Jacob Astor 
made a "purchase in bulk" of six Broadwood SQUARE PIANOS for which he paid 20 guineas each — a total of 129 pounds 4 
shillings. Before shipping the lot to the United States, Astor put his own name on the instruments. 

Typical of the period's English piano trade, most of the surviving Astor pianos are of the square type. An advertisement 
does, however, mention Astor as a maker of GRAND PIANOS. Astor pianos after the late 1790s carry the words "New 
Patent" on the NAME-BOARD, although he is not known to have produced any particular innovations in piano design, 
patented or otherwise. The "patent" probably refers either to the employment of the piano ACTION patented by JOHN GEIB 
in 1786 or the DAMPER system patented by WILLIAM SOUTHWELL in 1794. 

Astor pianos usually possess a four-digit stamped SERIAL NUMBER, the series apparently continuing with pianos 
produced under the "Astor and Horwood" name. The series of numbers and related dates cited in the Pierce Piano Atlas are 
not to be believed. The lowest known number from an extant Astor piano with the Cornhill address is 1314, while the lowest 
on an instrument with the "Astor and Horwood" name is 5134. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON, president of the United States and patron of the arts, owned an Astor square piano dated 1795. 
Another fine example of an early piano forte inscribed with the nameplate "Astor & Co. 79 Cornhill (1795)" is in the Boehm- 
Kooper collection in New York City. Besides the unusual sustaining PEDAL found on the early square pianos of this type, the 
piano has a swell box manipulated by a foot lever. 



Astor Foundation Archives — New York City. 

Good, Edwin M.Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Ividson. Frank British Mush- Puhlislwrs. Printers anil Engravers. London, 1900. 

Rosier. John. Keyboard Musical Instruments in tlie Museum of Fine Arts. Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 
Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York-London: Norton, 1985. 
Porter, Kenneth Wiggins. John Jacob Astor, Business Man. 2 vols. Cambridge, Mass., 1931. Reprint. New York, 1966. 
Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte. New York: D.Spillane, 1 890. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 
Wainwright, David. Broadwood by Appointment, a History. London: Quiller Press, 1982; New York: Universe Books, 1983. 

The first piano to come to Australia belonged to Surgeon George Worgan, who arrived on the Sirius with the First Fleet in 
1788. Pianos were valued possessions in the colony and were serviced in the first half of the nineteenth century by a steadily 
increasing number of independent piano tuners and technicians. Major interference with the healthy growth of the piano industry 
in Australia had several causes: the first and second world wars with their periods of boom and bust; the Great Depression of 
the 1930s; the commencement of radio and television transmission; and the high cost of a labor-intensive industry, which has 
not been able to successfully compete with imports since the mid-1970s. In 1926-1927, 24,000 pianos were sold. With the 
depression in 1931-1932 only 170 pianos were sold and 26 of these were imported. 

Probably the first piano built in Australia was the product of John Benham (arrived in Australia 1831; died 1845). This 
instrument (preserved in the Old Mint Building, Sydney) has a wooden FRAME with over-damper ACTION in an Australian 
red-cedar CASE. 

Already around 1850, pianos were being made by John Williams of Hobart in Tasmania, and the brothers James and Jabez 
Carnegie of Melbourne in Victoria. Sand's Sydney and N.S.W. Directory lists piano in Sydney in 1858 and 1861: David 
Buirst and Son; Robert T.Buirst; Henry R.Hurford and Company; George E.Young; and Charles James Jackson. It is difficult 
to ascertain whether these concerns involved the actual building of pianos or rather the repair and renovation of instruments. A 
government study lists only one piano manufacturer in New South Wales in 1880 (T.Richards, N.S.W. in 1881,18 82. Sydney: 
Government Printer, 1882). A piano built by William Ezold received a First Degree of Merit at the 1879 Exhibition in 
Sydney, where judges recorded: "Well made, good workmanship and material, good tone and touch." 

Joseph Kilner first arrived in Australia in 1850 and, after making his fortune in gold and returning to England to collect his 
family, he returned to Victoria. In 1854 he began making pianos from parts imported from BROADWOOD'S in London, 
where he had served his apprenticeship. In 1862 Joseph Wilkie, also from Broadwood' s, joined him, the firm becoming 
Wilkie, Kilner and Company. Between 1863 and 1866 they sold 305 pianos. Around 1870 this factory reverted to a family 
business and made wooden-frame pianos under the name of Joseph Kilner. The artisans used Australian timber such as 
blackwood and red gum for the construction of the tuning-plank (PINBLOCK), but when these proved unsuitable they went 
back to beech. Under the new name of Frederick Kilner and Sons, a large factory was built at Auburn in 1915, where iron- 


frame pianos were made using the latest German techniques. All parts were made in Australia until it proved cheaper to 
import the actions. The firm continued business until 1969 when it was taken over by Brash's music business. The pianos 
were of good quality and they won several prizes: 1866-1867, Melbourne Intercolonial Exhibition; 1872, Intercolonial 
Exhibition of Victoria; 1876, Great Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. 

During the 1890s many piano manufacturers began business in Sydney and Melbourne, although some workshops only 
assembled imported parts. About seven hundred thousand pianos were imported into Australia during the nineteenth century. 
The turn of the century saw the Australian piano market dominated by German instruments, which were thought to have a 
superior tone, stronger construction, and more attractive case work. German pianos could also be supplied more cheaply than 
the instruments of English manufacturers, who failed to meet delivery dates and gave poor service. 

Octavius Charles Beale (born 1850, Ireland; died 1930, Australia) began importing pianos into Australia in 1893, the same 
year that he produced his first saleable Australian model. He founded the Beale Piano Factory in 1895 and production proper 
commenced in 1900. On 9 November 1901, Octavius Beale took out a PATENT in Germany for his piano's most 
distinguishing feature: the use of a nut behind the wrest block to fasten the shaft of the TUNING PIN. This was supposed to 
ensure the stability of the tuning under the tremendous demands made by climactic extremes in Australia. In 1908 Beale tried 
to sell this idea to the following disinterested German makers: IBACH, BLUTHNER, Schwechten, BECHSTEIN, and 
Duysen. After World War I, German imports were restricted and Fred Allan, member of the famous family music business in 
Melbourne, gained permission from the Thurmer factory in Germany to make pianos under license in Australia. The Beale 
piano factory in Sydney made about twenty-four Thurmer pianos, but as they were more expensive than the imported 
Thurmers, they were hard to sell. As part of their silver jubilee celebrations in 1925, Beale's, having produced some fifty-two 
thousand UPRIGHTS and GRANDS to concert size, claimed to be the largest piano manufacturer in the British Empire. A 
1927 publicity sheet claims that their factory showed "the largest proportional production of players of any factory in the 
world" and it built" more PLAYER-PIANOS each week than any three European factories combined." Beale continued to 
make player pianos until the 1950s. In 1927, after thirty years of production, some sixty thousand Beale instruments had been 
sold. Their factory, the largest in the British Empire, covered ten acres, with forty-three thousand square feet of floor space. 
Only three full-size CONCERT GRANDS were produced and one of them is in Government House in Sydney. Like most 
concerns, Beale's went through a troubled period in the depression of the 1930s and recovered around 1948 only to be 
severely hit by the transmission and sale of television in 1957. By 1951 the Beale factory had produced some seventy-five 
thousand pianos. Its operations were reduced to four-and-a-half acres at Annandale, employing 250 workers, but it still 
claimed to be the largest self-contained piano factory in the British Commonwealth (Melbourne Herald, 3 February 1951). In 
1960 the company traded under a new name: Beale Pianos. The only imported part was the action. Having produced around 
ninety-five thousand pianos, Beale's was forced to cease production in 1975 because it could not compete with the low cost 
of Japanese and Chinese imports. Beale pianos were awarded Gold Medals at the Franco-British Exhibition of 1908 and the 
Royal Agricultural Society of N.S.W. Exhibition, 1897 and 1898. 

The Wertheim family, headed by Hugo Wertheim, began importing pianos into Australia in the 1890s. Around 1905 three 
piano builders were invited from the Lipp factory in Germany to assist in the building of pianos for the Wertheim family 
business. In 1908 a large piano factory employing the latest technology was built on four acres at Richmond in Melbourne. 
The factory covered some fifty-two thousand square feet, employing about three hundred workers. This new venture was so 
important to the establishment of industry in Australia that the prime minister, Alfred Deakin, laid the foundation stone for the 
factory. Practically all of the parts were manufactured at the plant, which included iron and brass foundries; timber-seasoning 
racks; woodworking equipment; and cabinetmaking, French polishing, and SOUNDBOARD departments. The actions were 
largely made in Canada. The engine plant was underground and beltdrive was used to ensure the best possible working 
conditions. Ducted heating, "lavatories, luncheon rooms, and smokers' pavillions fitted in the most up-to-date manner" were 
provided for employees (Australian Musical News, 1908). The head of the new factory was Herbert Wertheim, son of Hugo, 
who had studied at the Boston Technological Institution and had visited leading European makers. Wertheim' s made uprights 
and grands, including twelve grands with wide HAMMERS (twelve millimeter) to strike four STRINGS in the treble. At the 
height of their production they were producing around two thousand units per year, whereas the Ronisch factory in Germany 
was producing only five hundred. The effects of the depression in 1930 forced Wertheim's, Allan's (Melbourne-based music 
business), Sutton's (Melbourne -based music house), and Paling's (Sydney-based music house) to join forces and create the 
Australian Piano Factory, using the Wertheim plant at Richmond. About 1935 the business failed. 

Shortly after World War I, Wertheim's invited Paul Zenker to come from Germany to Australia and work in the action 
fitting and tuning sections of their plant. About 1923 he joined with Carl Schultes and, with the financial backing of Allan's 
Music Company, they began building pianos at Camberwell. They employed a staff of about forty. Their player pianos were 
quite satisfactory but their pianos had many design problems. Allan's pulled out of the business in 1929, Zenker and Schultes 
becoming another victim of the depression a few years later. A.Macrow and Sons built two models ("Spencer" and 
"Cranford") in Melbourne between 1924 and 1928. Their product was so inferior that it became difficult to sell. 


Around 1920 J. Carnegie and Son began building pianos in Richmond, Victoria. They produced two models using family 
names ("Francis Howard" and "Henry Randall") before buying the rights to use the "Ronisch," "Thalburg," "August Hyde," 
and "Gors and Kallmann" names. They made uprights, player pianos, and some BABY GRANDS, continuing to build until 
about 1950. In 1919, Sutton's moved to form the Concord Company in Melbourne to produce pianos and player pianos. The 
members of this concern were Sutton's, Nicholson and Company of Sydney, The Australasian Implement and House 
Furnishing Company of Adelaide, Buhler and Company of Perth, and Find lay's of Tasmania. Production ceased shortly after 
the end of World War II. 

South Australia also supported a major piano producer in Furness Pianos. The company was formed by Herbert S. Furness 
(b. 25 May 1859, Halifax, York-shire, England; d. 1934, South Australia), his son, James Ross (b. 1888, England; d. 1962, 
South Australia), and Albert Behrndt, who had been employed in a piano factory in Germany and carried out the 
cabinetmaking and French polishing. They began manufacturing pianos in 1908 with a workshop and showroom in Adelaide, 
South Australia. Herbert had worked for the English piano manufacturer, POHLMANN and Son, and had visited 
BRINSMEAD'S and Broadwood's before immigrating to South Australia in 1892. Special pianos used Australian red gum or 
Tasmanian blackwood but most had a walnut case. In 1922 Glen Furness, a family member, visited piano factories in England, 
Canada, and the United States in order to learn up-to-date techniques. Furness began to manufacture player pianos in 1923. 
On 24 June 1924 the company went public and became known as Furness Limited. In 1925 operations moved to 
Edwardstown, South Australia, and by 1925 production had reached almost a piano per day. About six hundred units were 
manufactured in 1925-1926. In the 1930s Furness sold about thirteen hundred pianos and player pianos through agents in 
Australia and Papua New Guinea. In 1927 Furness diversified in order to survive the depression but in 1939, when socalled 
luxury items were discontinued in favor of munition work, piano production ceased. Their pianos won several prizes 
including: 1910, Adelaide Exhibition, Silver Medal for piano construction; 1925, South Australia Chamber of Manufacturers, 
All-Australian Exhibition, Silver Medal for player piano, Bronze Medal for piano; 1930, South Australian Chamber of 
Manufacturers, All- Australian Exhibition, Bronze Medals for piano, player piano, and piano and player-piano parts. 

Carl von Heiden (born 13 April 1880, Berlin; died 1936, Australia) operated a music business until World War I, when 
because of his German background he was forced to close down. He had trained at the Bechstein factory in Berlin and in the 
early 1900s he worked with STEINWAY in New York. After the war he moved to Brisbane and between 1932 and 1936 he 
operated his Heiden Piano Factory. His pianos used iron frames cast at the Balmer and Crowthers foundry in Brisbane and 
later at Scott's foundry at Ipswich. Soundboards, wrest planks, and BRIDGE timbers were imported along with KEYBOARD 
and action parts from England (Schwander) and Canada (Otto Heygel). Heiden sold pianos under his own name but also 
manufactured pianos for Paling's (music house) using the name "Victor and Belling." 

In the late 1930s Geoff Allan, of the Melbourne based music house, decided that the time was right to put the failure of the 
Australian Piano Factory behind him and to investigate filling the growing demand for pianos. It was hard to get German and 
English models and the quality since World War I was thought to be inferior. Allan still had the license to use the Thurmer 
name, and rather than joining with Beale, who had not been able to compete with the price of the imported Thurmer, Allan 
approached Charles Davies, a Sydney manufacturer. World War II interfered with their work. The first piano by C.E.Davies 
made after the war was completed on 28 November 1946. C.E.Davies won a government contract to make upright pianos for 
use in schools and institutions in Australia. Using the model name of "Symphony," they produced around twenty-five 
thousand pianos, employing a staff of twenty-five. They cast their own frames at Yagoona and made all parts by hand from 
imported materials. Canadian spruce was used for the soundboard and English beech for wrest planks. Between 1946 and 
1976 they produced on average twelve Symphony pianos each week. In 1978 C.E.Davies, Australia's last piano 
manufacturing concern, ceased production due to rising costs and cheaper imports. There is considerable interest among piano 
technicians in Australia to employ innovative technological improvements in piano design and to start new piano building 
concerns to cater to the domestic and international markets. 



Bcalc and Company, archive materials held by Australia Music Limited, Sydney. 
Game, Peter. The Music Sellers. Melbourne: Hawthorn, 1976. 

Foulchcr, Trevor. "Piano Building in Australia." Sydney International Piano Competition Programme ( i 9KX): 5 I 
Furness, Rex, and Keith Furness. The History of Furness Limited. Printed by the Furness family, 1986. 
Ottley, Brent L. Piano Building in Victoria 1850-1950. Private publication, 1987. 
Sutton, George. Richard Henry Sutton, Esq. 1830-1876. Melbourne: Renwick Pride, 1954. 
"The Symphony Lingers On." Piano Action , Newsletter for tralian Piano Technicians 18 (April 1985): 1-2. 


In the Austrian Empire there was a flourishing and widely known piano industry from the end of the eighteenth century 
until World War I. In addition to the capital and court city of Vienna, Prague and Budapest were of primary importance. The 
gravecembalo col piano e forte invented by BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI around 1700, with its STOSSMECHANIK, must 
have been known in Vienna by the first quarter of the eighteenth century. Austria had close contact with Italy and most of the 
court musicians in Austria were Italians since the time of Emperor Ferdinand III (r. 1637-1657). 

In 1725 Johann Christoph Leo, organ maker in Augsburg, advertised his "Cimbalen ohne Kiel nebst anderen schonen 
Flugeln" [harpsichords without quills besides other beautiful GRANDS] in the journal Wiener Diarium . The Kunsthistorisches 
Museum in Vienna possesses a harpsichord made in 1696 (KHM/SAM Inv.Nr.845), probably of Viennese origin, which was 
repaired by the Viennese organ maker Frantz Walter in 1703 and later converted into a piano with Stoss-mechanik by 
Wenceslaus Durfas (?) from Prague in 1726. Most of the oldest preserved Viennese pianos — for example, by Ignatz Kober, 
Johann Schantz, F.X. Christoph — are equipped with a Stossmechanik ACTION. Further evidence of the importance of the 
piano in Austria is the fact that the earliest known recital on a fortepiano took place in Vienna (at the Burgtor-theater) in 
1763, played by Johann Baptist Schmid. 

The ideas of the Enlightenment, the increasing significance of the bourgeoisie, and the reform-minded reign of Emperor 
Joseph II (r. 1780-1790) effected a generalized economic and social boom. From every area in the empire and neighboring 
countries there commenced a lively influx of tradespeople, craftsmen, and artists who primarily settled in the suburbs of 
Vienna. This led to very keen competition. 

Until the Congress of Vienna (1815) approximately 200 instrument builders lived in the city and its environs, of which 137 
were organ or pianoforte builders. Thirty years later the number of piano builders alone had nearly tripled to 387. Of course 
not each of these had his own firm. The workshops were for the most part small manufacturies. For instance, 
FERDINAND HOFMANN, who produced one piano a week with his eight journeymen, or ANTON WALTER, who in 1804 
employed some twenty journeymen, were considered large-scale enterprises by contemporary standards. 

Piano construction in Vienna before 1800 was determined by two "schools": the one direction, substantially influenced by 
Anton Walter, preferred a strong type of piano oriented toward volume and extroverted virtuosity; the other had as its 
representatives Nannette STREICHER (nee STEIN) and her brother Matthaus Andreas Stein (Andre Stein), as well as 
JOHANN SCHANTZ. The "Stein Siblings," who settled in Vienna in 1793 and worked together in the same shop until 1802, 
continued the tradition of their father, Johann Andreas Stein of Augsburg. The brighter, distinctive tone of the instruments of 
the Stein-Streicher dynasty was preferred by musicians of the Classical tradition as well as for chamber music. In the era of 
the "Wiener Klassik," besides the aforementioned masters, JOSEPH BROD-MANN, Johann Jakesch, Ignatz Kober, and 

The nineteenth century was a very innovative epoch for the trend-setting Viennese piano industry. Between 1821 and 1843, 
fifty-three inventions were PATENTED for the piano industry alone. Austrian piano WIRE producers were able to prosper, 
despite duty-free import of foreign products. Steel piano wire produced by Martin Miller & Sohn of Vienna was famous in all 
parts of Europe and was even used by BROADWOOD at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851. While certain masters such 
as Johann Baptist Streicher, MATTHIAS MULLER, or Martin Seuffert were noted for willingness to experiment, others 
concentrated on the development of a few proven models (for example, CONRAD GRAF), which nevertheless could vary 
drastically in external appearance. 

The development in western Europe of ever increasing volume of sound in the building of pianos was only hesitantly 
imitated by Austrian masters. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, most Austrian piano builders and pianists considered 
superfluous the CASE trusses and iron FRAMES; HAMMER FELT invented by JEAN-HENRI PAPE; and 
SEBASTIEN ERARD'S repetition ACTION with its double escapement, for reasons of TONE, technique, and economics. 
Despite this "backwardness" — from a modern standpoint — Austria in the middle of the nineteenth century remained a net 
exporter. This is mainly due to very low production costs in relation to the high quality of the products. 

A detailed and planned division of labor, from England primarily, was also practiced in Vienna, though divided at first 
among various smaller firms. Thus, in 1850 the Lower Austrian trade organization lists 105 piano builders, 21 KEYBOARD 
makers, 17 case builders, 11 piano shank and TUNING PIN makers, 7 piano-leg makers, 5 STRING producers, 5 piano 
nameplate makers, 4 Kapsel makers, 3 bone workers, and 2 piano wire producers. When Johann Baptist Streicher visited the 
Broadwood Company a year later (1851), he was extremely impressed that this one company was able to produce in a year 
almost as many pianos as all 105 Viennese piano builders combined, namely 2,300 pianos (in Vienna 2,600). 

Despite his admiration, Streicher preferred the indigenous method of production. The boss in a Viennese factory was at the 
same time the number-one worker. The result of this was very high quality (through continuous checking) combined with 
individual character. The accurate and even intonation of Austrian pianos is often singled out for mention. The leading 
Viennese companies were decidedly against expansion of factory size for mass production. Ludwig BOSENDORFER, for 
example, consciously limited the number of his co-workers to 120. It is true, however, that in doing so they missed becoming 
part of the world market. Several piano builders distinguished themselves by their significant musical capabilities (such as 
Nannette and Andreas Stein, Johann B. Streicher, Carl Stein, Ludwig Bosendorfer) and in part introduced their instruments to 

Fig. 24. Grand Pianoforte by Ludwig Bosendorfer, Vienna, 1867. Designed by Anton Grosser. From the possession of Emperor Franz 
Joseph I (1830-1916). Kunsthistorischcs Museum, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente, Inv. No. 387. 

the public themselves. Eduard Seuffert furthered the development of the upright Viennese pianoforte (the "GIRAFFE piano," 
"pyramid piano") constructed by his father, which eventually evolved into the "PIANINO" (UPRIGHT piano). 

In addition to Seuffert, the most significant masters of this period were Ignaz Bosendorfer, Conrad Graf, Carl Stein, and 
Johann Baptist Streicher. From the middle of the nineteenth century, French, English, and American influence (which finally 
led to the modern piano) began to show itself. This brought about a great developmental impetus with respect to construction 
techniques as well as economics. Iron trusses and string plates and finally the cast-iron frame (first used in Vienna in 1862 by 
Friedrich EHRBAR [1827-1905]), hammer felt, crucible cast steel strings, and OVER- STRINGING were incorporated into 
production. Sound intensity and tonal volume prevailed as the most important criteria of quality. Not a few contemporaries 
warned of the one-sidedness of this development. They had personally heard LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN, Johann 
Nepomuk Hummel, and Carl Czerny and treasured the fortepiano as a poetic instrument of CHAMBER MUSIC. They 
recognized that by gaining in sound intensity there was a loss of tonal beauty and the singing qualities for which 
VIENNESE PIANOS were famous at that time in all of Europe. The "Viennese action," once so valued for its lightness and 
subtlety, could not be reconciled with this development because of the increasing mass of moveable parts. Subsequently, this 
mechanism was considered sluggish and recalcitrant and was taken out of production by Bosendorfer, for example, starting in 

The number of firms decreased while the productivity of individual firms greatly increased. 

Austrian firms, which primarily supplied local demand, found themselves increasingly pressured by cheaper imports from 
foreign countries (especially uprights from Germany). In order to withstand the price pressure of top-ranking factories, in 
1873 several smaller builders joined together as the "First Viennese Production Cooperative." 

The Austrian piano industry, as a consequence of the first industrial expositions of 1835, 1839, and 1845 in Vienna, 
documented its international and historical significance at the Vienna World's Fair in 1873 and at the International Music and 
Theater Exposition of 1892. At further large piano expositions abroad (1851 and 1862 in London; 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900 in 
Paris; 1876 in Munich and Philadelphia; 1881 in Sydney; 1893 in Chicago), Viennese firms were awarded numerous medals 
and honors. In addition to Streicher, Ehrbar, Bosendorfer, the firms Schweighofer's Sons (founded 1832), D6rr (founded 
1817), Czapka (founded ca. 1840), and Heitzmann (founded 1839) gained greater significance. 

The euphoria of the so-called Griinderzeit (in 1909 Bosendorfer achieved a highpoint with 460 pianos a year) ended 
abruptly in 1914 with the disaster of World War 1. With the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918, the former 


crown lands — the chief customers for Austrian piano builders — became foreign countries. The previous flourishing trade was 
hindered by high protective tariffs. 

Many smaller firms, rendered uncompetitive in the European market because of obsolete production techniques, were 
forced into bankruptcy during the years of the depression. Their demise was also brought about by the ultimate success of 
radio and record players. Until after 1930, single examples of the Viennese action were handmade. Annexation into 
"GroBdeutsch-land" in 1938 brought about temporary economic recovery, which ended all too soon in the horrors of World War 
II. The Viennese piano industry was not able to achieve the recovery of the post-war era. After 1950 the import of inexpensive 
mass-produced wares, predominantly from East Asia, brought about the suspension of the last unprofitable piano 
manufacturers. Of the once-famous Viennese piano industry, only the Bosendorfer company maintained and was able to 
expand its international significance. The brands Ehrbar, Stingl, and Stelzhammer are produced sporadically on a small scale. 
In five workshops (Robert Brown, Salzburg; Albrecht Czernin, Gert Hecher, Vienna; Alexander Langer, Klagenfurt; Richard 
Koch, Tulln) FORTE-PIANOS are being built according to historic principles. 

In 1988 there were thirty-nine piano builders officially registered, whose prime areas of expertise were in repair, tuning, 
and trade. 

See also Wire 

Translated by David Anderson 


Angermiiller, Rudolph, and Alfons Huber, eds. Mozarts Hammerflugel. Salzburg: Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum, 2000. 
Badura-Skoda, Eva. "Prolegomena to a History of the Viennese Fortepiano." Israel Studies in Musicology 2 (1980): 77-99. 
Beschreibung der Erflndungen und Verbesserungen, fur welche in den k.k. osterreichischen Staaten Patente erteilt wurden. Wien: Hof- und 

Staats-Aerarial-Druckerei 1841 bis 1845,1.111. Bd. 
Fischhof, Joseph. Versuch ciner Gescliichu <A-.\ Cliivurbttiws. Wien: Wallishausser, 1853. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-versity Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed., Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Haupt, Helga. "Wiener Instrumenlenbauer von 1791-1815." In: Sun.iii.ii zur Musikwissciischaft, vol. 24. Edited by Erich Schenk. Wien- 
Graz-Koln: Bohlau, 1960. 

Hopfher, Rudolf. U 'iciicr Musikiu 'unw, ■ mm xlwr ''66 ""Hi. . zm; . Schneider, IW. 

Huber, Alfons. "Deckelstiitzen und Schalldeckel an Hammer-klavieren." Studia Organologica. Festschrift John Henry Van der Meer. 

Edited by Friedcmann Hellwig. Tutzing: Schneider, 1987. 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, ed. Die Klangwelt Mozarts. Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Neuen Burg, April 1991 -February 1992. Wien: 

Eigenverlag, 1991. 

Latcham, Michael The Si ' ' ' " Traditions I "SO 1620. 

Miinchen- Salzburg: Katzbichler, 2000. 
Luithien. Victor. Saiienklariere. Katalog der Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente des Kunsthistorisehen Museums. Wien: Figcm erlag. 1966. 
Mayer, Michael. Bosendorfer: Historische Betriebsanalyse der Firma L.Bdsendorfer Klavierfabrik AG. Dissertation an der 

Wirtschaftswissen-sehaftliehen I niversitat. Wien. September I9K9. 
Ottner. Helmut. Ar II 'icner Musikinstriimcnlenbau 1615 1633. Tutzing: Schneider. 1970. 

Prilisauer, Richard, ed. Klavierland Wien. Katalog zur Ausstellung des Bezirksmuseums Mariahilf. Wien: Janner, 1 98 1 . 
u ich iiu! i i i 1 i S i lil her geborene 

Stein in Wien, verfertiget werden. Wien: Albertinische Schriften, 1802. 


BABCOCK, ALPHEUS (1785-1842) 

Alpheus Babcock, a significant American piano maker and inventor, is best known for his invention of the one-piece metal 
FRAME, patented 17 December 1825, in Boston. Having learned his craft from BENJAMIN CREHORE in Milton, 
Massachusetts, Babcock set up shop with his brother Lewis (1779-1814) in Boston in 1810, and after Lewis's death he 
carried on, both in partnership and on his own. During the 1 820s he was financed by the Mackay family in Boston, one of 
whose members was John Mackay (1774-1841), later JONAS CHICKERING'S partner, and NAMEBOARD inscriptions 
referring to G. (George) D. Mackay (d. 1824) and R.(Ruth) Mackay (1742-1833) are common among surviving Babcock 
instruments. Babcock married Margaret Perkins (1789-1842) in 1822, and they had one son, John (1828-1847). In 1829 he 
moved to Philadelphia, where he worked in the shop of John GKlemm and later for William Swift. In 1837 he returned to 
Boston and was employed by Jonas Chickering until his death, 3 April 1842. 

Only three SQUARE PIANOS produced by Babcock that contain examples of his 1825 PATENT for a metal frame have 
been discovered, two of which were made in Boston and the third produced in Swift's shop in Philadelphia. One of the 
Boston-made instruments is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, while the other is in a private collection in Rhode Island. 
The square made in Swift's shop is in the Smithsonian Institution. The 1825 patent named several possible metals for the 
frame, though cast-iron came to be the metal of choice. Babcock took out three other patents. One (24 May 1830) was for a 
stringing mechanism that Babcock called "cross-stringing." Many authors, not having examined the patent, have credited 
Babcock with the invention of what is now called cross-stringing, but the patent called for looping the STRING around the 
HITCHPIN and had nothing to do with crossing planes of strings. A patent of 31 December 1833 was an ACTION design 
with rolled FELT for HAMMER heads, somewhat like BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI'S roll of parchment as the hammer 
head. Babcock's last patent (no. 1389) of 3 1 October 1839 described a new design of the fly (JACK) that eliminated an action 
noise. How well known any of these patents were is uncertain. Chickering apparently used the last design, but the only known 
instance of the action patent is in a Babcock piano, and no examples of the stringing patent survive. 

Other makers certainly knew of Babcock's metal frame, and some were willing to imitate it. But the fact that Conrad 
Meyer (d. 1881) could later gain credence for his claim to have invented and patented the iron frame in 1832 indicates that 
Babcock's success was not well known. On the other hand, Jonas Chickering patented a one-piece metal frame for GRANDS 
in 1843 shortly after Babcock's death, having unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a patent in 1840, and we may plausibly infer 
that, because Babcock had been working for Chickering since 1837, he assisted in the design. 

A large number of Babcock squares are to be found in American collections, and they are notable for superlative 
workmanship. There is also evidence, however, in an inventory of the Babcock shop after George Mackay's death, that a 
grand piano was under construction at that time. Although Babcock seems to have usually worked with the financial backing 
of others, he holds an important place in the general history of the piano and in the American trade. 



Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982; 2d ed. Stanford, Calif.: 
Stanford University Press, 200 1 . 

Grafing, Keith G. "Alpheus Babcock: American Pianoforte Maker (1785-1842): His Life, Instruments, and Patents." D.M.A.diss., 

University of Missouri — Kansas City, 1972. 
Roster. John. Kcyhoanl Musical Instalments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 
Palmieri, Robert. Letter from Darcy Kuronen, Curator of Musical Instruments, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 2002. 


A baby grand is a GRAND PIANO between four-feet nineinches and five-feet four-inches in length, generally used in 
small living rooms, conservatory practice rooms, and musicians' studios. 
See also Grand Piano 



Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach was the second surviving son of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH and his first wife Maria 
Barbara. He was a brilliant keyboard performer, possibly because of his musical studies with his father (in his autobiography 
he says that in "keyboard playing I never had any other teacher than my father"), and he became harpsichordist to the court of 
FREDERICK THE GREAT, king of Prussia. In this position he wrote a great number of works for solo keyboard. Living in a 
time when the harpsichord and the clavichord were slowly being replaced by the FORTEPIANO, Bach did not cling to one 
instrument throughout. 

In his essay Versuch iiber die wahre Art, das Cla zu spielen ([Essay on the True Manner of Playing Keyboard Instruments], 
1st part 1753, 2d part 1762), which was widely read during his lifetime, he discusses the pros and cons of the three keyboard 
instruments. He personally preferred the clavichord, which he brought to recognition and great reputation in Middle- and 
Northern Germany. Because of its dynamic possibilities it suited his style of musical expression best. Since he was the chief 
exponent of the empfindsame Stil [highly sensitive style], Bach wanted to "touch the hearts" of his audience. He writes that 
his "chief effort ...has been... to play and compose as airlike as possible for the clavier [i.e., clavichord], not withstanding its 
lack of sustaining power." According to his opinion the harpsichord, because of its full sound, was best fitted for "strong 
music," for playing along with other instruments. As for the fortepiano, Bach states in his essay: "the new fortepianos, if they 
are made very well, have many advantages.... They are good for playing alone or for music that is not scored too heavily." 
Here he stresses the main problem of the early fortepiano: its small sound, which was softer than that of the harpsichord. 

Bach's numerous sonatas, fantasias, and rondos (altogether about 170 pieces) are playable on any of the three keyboard 
instruments of his time, but a few of them can be classified either as harpsichord works or as music for the clavichord by 
comparing their musical "affects" with the description of the "affects" given in his essay. 



Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Versuch iiber die wahre Art, das Clavier zu spielen. Fascimile-Reprint edition, Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht. 

Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Hartel, 1986. 
Barford, Philip. The Keyboard Music of C .P.E.Bach, Considered in Relation to His Musical Aesthetic and the Rise of the Sonata Principle. 

London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1965. 
Clark, Stephen L., ed. C.P.E.Bach Studies. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988. 
Kirkpatrick, Ralph. "C.P.E.Bach's Versuch Reconsidered." Early Music 4 (April 1976): 384-92. 
Mitchell, William J. "C.P.E. Bach's Essay, An Introduction." Musical Quarterly 33 (1947): 460-80. 
Newman, William S. "Emanuel Bach's Autobiography." Musical Quarterly 51 (1905): 363-72. 
Otlenberg, Hans-Giinter. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Miinchen: Piper, 1988. 
—."Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach-Ein Komponist im Abseits?" Concerto 44 (June 1989): 9-13. 

Schmidt, Christopher. "C. Ph. E. Bach und das Clavichord." Schweizcrische Musikzeitung 92 (November 1952): 441-5. 
Special issue in honor of the 200th anniversary of the death of C.P.E.Bach. Early Music 16 (April 1988). 
Vricslandcr, Otto. Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. Miinchen: Piper, 1925. 

Wotquenne, Alfred. Thematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788). Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hartel, 1905. 

The youngest son of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH (1685- 1750), Johann Christian was one of the most influential 
composers of the pre-Classical period. Following his early years of training in Berlin with his older brother 
CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL (1714-1788), and then a period of study and employment in Italy, Johann Chris tian traveled to 
London in 1762. He made England his home for the remainder of his life and enjoyed a prominent reputation in London's 
musical circles. His keyboard compositions are mostly in the Italian galant style, the best-known works being two sets of sonatas, 
op. 5 from about 1768, and op. 17 from 1779. 

As with the keyboard writing of many composers during this period, Bach's compositions present some questions as to 
performance medium. The two sets of sonatas both specify on the title page that they are "for the Harpsichord or Piano-forte," 
but this was a common marketing device during the period, especially in England where the two instruments coexisted 
comfortably for several decades. Bach is, however, considered by many to be one of the first to fully exploit the potential of 
the new pianoforte. 

A notice in London's Public Advertiser on 2 June 1768 lists a concert of vocal and instrumental music "At the Large Room, 
Thatch'd House, St.-Jame'sStreet," in which the last item mentioned is a "solo on the Piano Forte by Mr. Bach." Based on a 


supposition put forth by Terry in his biography of J.C.Bach, most historians since have asserted that this very early public 
performance of solo piano music was played on a small SQUARE piano purchased by Bach from the instrument maker 
JOHANNES ZUMPE (1726-1791). Cole, however, has recently reexamined the facts and published a convincing argument 
that calls for other possible interpretations. London's Morning Chronicle of 5 April and 22 April 1774 makes mention of 
Bach's appearance in two London concerts playing "a new Concerto upon Mr. Merlin's lately-invented Harpsichord." 
JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN, an ingenious instrument builder among his many other talents, produced some harpsichords with 
an added piano ACTION; perhaps it was one of these on which Bach performed. 
See also Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach 



Cole, Warwick Henry. "The Early Piano in Britain Reconsidered." Early Music 14, no. 4 (November 1986): 563-5. 
Hess, A.G. "The Transition from Harpsichord to Piano." Galpin Society Journal 6 (1953): 75-94. 

Maunder, Richard. "J.C.Bach and the Early Piano in London." Journal of the Royal Musical Association 116 (1991) 201-10. 
Schott, Howard. "From Harpsichord to Pianoforte: A Chronology and Commentary." Early Music 13, no. 1 (February 1985): 28-38. 
Terry, Charles Sanford. John Christian Bach. London: Oxford University Press, 1929. 

Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach (21 March 1685) and died in Leipzig (28 July 1750). For a long time it has 
been assumed that Johann Sebastian Bach came to know and to appreciate the pianoforte only toward the end of his life. 
However, recent research reveals the likelihood that Bach saw a HAMMERFLUGEL built by GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN 
already in the 1720s, perhaps one of those pantalone instruments with moveable KEYBOARDS (aufsetzbaren Tastaturen) 
and HAMMERS that fall from above onto the STRINGS. Such an instrument for instance was offered for sale in a newspaper 
advertisement in Leipzig in 1731. In volume 5 of Zedler's Universal-Lexikon, which appeared in 1733 in Leipzig, an article 
under the heading "Cembal d' amour" appeared, where at the end one reads that Gottfried Sibermann, the constructor of the 
Cembal d'amour, also invented another keyboard instrument, "so er PianoFort nennet " [which he calls PianoForfJ. Such a 
PianoFort, or PianoForte, for which Silbermann was heartily congratulated by the crown prince at the court in Dresden in 
1732, may have been delivered to Leipzig in that year, too. It was probably J.S.Bach himself who was responsible for the 
wording of the following newspaper announcement, which appeared on 16 June 1733 in Leipzig: 

Es "soil morgen, 17 Juni...von dem Bachischen Collegio musico...der Anfang mit einem schonen Concert gemachet 
und wochentlich damit continuieret werden, dabey ein neuer Clavicymbel, dergleichen allhier noch nicht gehoret 
worden," gespielt werden. [Tomorrow, 17 June. . . Bach's Collegio musico will give the first of its weekly concerts, and 
will start with a fine concerto using a new clavicymbel of a kind that so far has not been heard here.] 

It is most likely that this "new clavicymbel" referred to Silbermann's Hammerflugel, which naturally was not immediately 
named by everybody "pianoforte" but for a rather long period of time was called new clavecin, clavecin, or clavecin a maillet, 
or cembalo (con martelli). On this occasion in 1733 it is likely that (according to Alfred Diirr) Bach performed his (first?) 
harpsichord, Concerto in D Minor, BWV 1052. In 1736 Silbermann was praised again publicly for his excellent pianoforte 
instruments. Bach's pupil Johann Friedrich Agricola, who studied in Leipzig between 1738 and 1741, reported that he not 
only saw one of Silbermann's later pianofortes, which were built to the complete satisfaction of J.S.Bach, but also one of the 
earlier Hammerflugel. Thus, Bach must have played two different Pianofort instruments by Silbermann well before 1741, 
perhaps the improved one as early as 1733 but probably at the latest in 1736 or shortly thereafter. Perhaps he owned it and it 
is the same expensive "fourniert clavecin, welches bey der familie viel moglich bleiben soil" that is mentioned in Bach's 
estate list. It is quite understandable that the scribe of this "Nachlafiverzeichnis " in 1750 did not know any other name for the 
piano than the generic term "clavecin." 

Today, there can no longer be any doubt that in the 1730s Bach played on "instruments piano et forte genandt " (the name 
used in a document sign in 1749). That Bach in 1747 did not hesitate at all to perform for the Prussian king immediately after 
his arrival in Potsdam on a pianoforte by Silbermann attests to the probability that he was accustomed to such instruments, 
which were not easy to play for someone who had never practiced on them. 




Badura-Skoda, Eva. "Did Bach Compose 'Pianoforte Concertos'?" Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute win Wallace College, 31, 
no.l (2000). 

. "Komponicrtc Johann Sebastian Bach 'Hainmerkia\ ier-Konzertc"'.'" Bdcli-Jahrhuch (1991): 159f. 

. "Stringed Keyboard Instruments after 1700: Reconstructions of Lautenwercke and a Hammerpantalone." In Festa Musicologica: 

Essays in Honor of George J.Buel Festschrift, Series no. 14. Edited by Thomas Mathiesen, and Benito Rivera. Stuyvesant, N.Y.: 
Pendragon Press, 1996. 

. "Zur Friihgeschichte des Hammerklaviers." In rio • Uiisicohgk-iim l-'i'sischrifi Mln '< '> sn 

Tutzing, 1988. 

Henkel, Hubert. "Bach and das Hammerkla\ ier." liciinigc zur Bachforschung 2 (1983). 

The back check is the part of GRAND and vertical piano mechanisms that arrests the HAMMER after it rebounds from the 
STRING. In modern grand pianos, the back check is attached to the end of the KEY; in vertical ACTIONS, to the WIPPEN. 
The back check prevents the hammer from repeatedly reflecting to and from the string with a single key stroke (called 
"bobbling") and was invented by BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, himself the inventor of the piano. Cristofori's first piano 
(1700) used crossed threads to cushion the rebounding hammer shank and prevent bobbling. By 1726 he had devised a padded 
wood back check like that used on grands today. 

See also Actions 


BACKERS, AMERICUS (fl. 1763-d. 1778) 

Americus (Andrew) Backers (Backus) was one of the so-called TWELVE APOSTLES. Backers played a seminal part in 
early experiments to develop the ACTION for what came to be known as the pianoforte. He was born in the Netherlands and 
is believed to have worked in the SILBERMANN workshop for a time. The conditions that led to the departure of the Twelve 
Apostles suggest that he was among the first of the group to leave Germany, particularly as he was a foreigner in Saxony. It is 
thought that he arrived in London before 1760 and initially worked making spinets for John Hitchcock at 28 Fetter Lane. One 
such Hitchcock instrument survives — number 2,012, which is signed "Backus No. 8." 

Backers lived in Great Jermyn Street under the name "Andrew Backus" from 1763 to 1778. The Jermyn Street address was 
also his workshop, where his main activity was the manufacture of harpsichords. He is described as "the young Dutchman." 
He was buried on 25 January 1778 in Saint James, Piccadilly. 

At the time of his arrival in London, the piano was still considered to be a novelty: in 1767, a Covent Garden performance 
of The Beggar's Opera included a song that was advertised as being "accompanied on a new instrument called Piano Forte." 

Backers worked on the design of the piano in his spare time, and the youthful JOHN BROAD WOOD and his apprentice 
ROBERT STODART used to visit him at Jermyn Street in the evenings after their work was done, in order to assist him. 
Backers's new piano action, described as the "English grand" PIANOFORTE ACTION, was apparently completed some time 
late in the 1760s, although manuscript notes by James Shudi Broadwood variously give it as 1772 and 1776. The oldest 
known surviving English Grand is a Backers instrument, inscribed Americus Backers No. 21 Londini fecit 1 772, which is 
housed in the Russell Collection in Edinburgh. Another important innovation credited to Backers is the first use of PEDALS 
(sustaining and una corda) on a pianoforte, already in place on the 1772 pianoforte. In addition Backers was the first to use 
trichord stringing (although not in the extant 1772 instrument). Backers's goal in using trichord stringing and pedals was to 
enrich and increase the volume of the piano tone. Although the actions subsequently developed by Pohlmann, SHUDI, and 
Broadwood were more practical, most of the significant features of the English Grand can be credited to Americus Backers. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord & Clavichord, 1440-1840. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974. 
Clinkscale, Martha N. Makers of the Piano: 1700-1820. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 
Cole, Michael. The Pianoforte in the Classical Era. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. 
Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 

Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973:2d ed.: Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
\\ ainw right, David. The Piano Makers. London: Hutchinson, 1975. 

Balancier is another term for REPETITION LEVER. 




The Baldwin Company is a firm of musical instrument builders that sprang from origins deep in nineteenth-century 
American musical culture. Dwight Hamilton Baldwin (1821-1899) was an itinerant music teacher in the singing school 
tradition, although he also taught violin and reed organ. Educated at Oberlin College, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1857, 
becoming active in music instruction in the public schools. In the same year, Baldwin and Luther Whiting Mason, son of Lowell 
Mason and brother of Henry Mason (co-founder of the piano and organ manufacturing firm of MASON & HAMLIN), 
published a Book of Chants for community singing, and in 1860, The Young Singer, Part I. Bal win was also a minister, 
spending much of his time throughout his life in the activities of his church and church schools. 

As the most prominent music educator of his area, Baldwin was frequently called upon for advice on the purchase of 
musical instruments. Capitalizing on his reputation, in 1 862 or 1 863 he became a retail dealer in pianos and organs, at the same 
time continuing his teaching activities. In 1866 Lucien Wulsin (1845- 1912) was hired as a clerk, becoming a partner in 1873 
with the formation of D.H.Baldwin Company. A branch at Louisville, Kentucky, was opened in 1877 under the charge of 
Robert A.Johnson (1838-1884), who also became a partner in 1880. After the death of Johnson in 1884, three other partners 
joined the firm: Albert A. Van Buren, George W.Armstrong, Jr. (1857-1932), and Clarence Wulsin (1855-1897), Lucien 
Wulsin' s younger brother. The firm became one of the largest retailers of keyboard instruments in the Midwest, with 
franchises including STEINWAY & SONS, CHICKERING & SONS, DECKER BROTHERS, J. & C. Fischer, Haines 
Brothers, Vose, and Estey organs, among others. By 1 875 the firm was selling 2,500 pianos and organs annually. As the end 
of the century neared, the Baldwin Company found itself increasingly caught between territorial limitations imposed by 
eastern instrument makers who supplied its goods and potential in creases in sales that might be afforded by wider 
geographical coverage. For several years Baldwin had contracted with the Ohio Valley Piano Company (est. 1871) to provide 
SQUARE and UPRIGHT pianos that were labeled "built exclusively for D.H.Baldwin & Co." This firm was purchased and 
renamed the Valley Gem Piano Company, although Baldwin's actual manufacturing activities had begun in Chicago in 1889 
with the production of Monarch and Hamilton reed organs. By 1891 the manufacture of low-priced upright pianos had begun 
at the Baldwin Piano Company in Cincinnati, and in 1893 the Ellington Piano Company was established for the production of 
moderately priced pianos. It was decided to develop a truly high quality piano, with John Macy, a talented piano technician in 
the employ of the company, being instrumental in its design and production. The piano, named the Baldwin, won the Grand 
Prix at the Paris Exhibition of 1900, thus establishing the company as a builder of genuinely first-class instruments. 

In 1899 Dwight H.Baldwin died, leaving the bulk of his holdings in the business to the Presbyterian Church, and under the 
law the partnership of the D. H.Baldwin Company was dissolved. In 1903, after protracted negotiations, Lucien Wulsin and 
George Armstrong bought control of the company, with Wulsin serving as chief executive officer until 1912, Armstrong from 
1912 to 1926, and Lucien Wulsin, Jr. (1889-1964) from 1926 to 1964. 

In the 1920s Baldwin held its place in the automatic piano market with the Manualo player mechanism, available in all 
Baldwin-made pianos, as well as the Welte (licensee) reproducing mechanism, which competed with the AMPICO of the 
AMERICAN PIANO COMPANY and the DUO-ART of AEOLIAN. It was also in the latter 1920s that Baldwin began a 
research and development program in conjunction with the physics department of the University of Cincinnati, which was to 
result in the introduction of the Baldwin electronic organ in 1946. This venture also laid the groundwork for Baldwin's 
extensive future involvement in electronics. 

In 1936, in response to demand for the small piano, the thirty-six-inch Acrosonic SPINET was introduced, followed shortly 
thereafter by the forty-inch Acrosonic CONSOLE piano. In 1938 the forty-four-inch Hamilton studio upright, subsequently 
one of the most widely used pianos in the United States, was put into production. These and other developments helped the 
company recover from the depression to which many other manufacturers had succumbed. This recovery was halted by the 
advent of World War II. In addition to producing numerous wooden parts for aircraft, the company developed a leakproof 
gasoline tank for fighter planes and produced a top-secret proximity fuse for the U.S. Navy. Reconversion to the production 
of pianos began almost immediately after the cessation of hostilities, and in 1946 production was resumed. 

By 1958 the need for decentralization was felt, as well as the need for additional room for increased production. In 1958 
factory space at Conway, Arkansas, was acquired for the manufacture of the thirty-six-inch Howard spinet, and factories were 
opened at Fayetteville and Trumann, Arkansas, as well as at Greenwood, Mississippi. By 1972 only executive offices 
remained at Cincinnati. 

The 1960s saw a further advance in company growth. The prestigious German piano-making firm of BECHSTEIN (est. 
1853) was acquired by Baldwin in 1963, and in 1965 Baldwin introduced its newly designed CONCERT GRAND piano, 
designated the SD-10. In 1967 a factory was opened in Juarez, Mexico, for the manufacture of electronic equipment and piano 
ACTIONS. This period saw the increased acquisition of electronics firms, and, as profits increased, activities grew in the area 
of finance, including banks, savings and loan associations, leasing companies, and insurance companies. In all, forty-two 
separate acquisitions were recorded between 1968 and 1982. The Baldwin Piano and Organ Company was now reduced to a 
small division of a huge corporation called Baldwin United. In 1982-1983, after the acquisition of the Mortgage Guarantee 
Insurance Company, rising interest rates forced Baldwin United to file for Chapter 1 1 bankruptcy. The executive staff of the 


profitable piano and organ division, fearful that it might be sold to satisfy Baldwin United's debts, negotiated a leveraged 
buyout in 1984, and the Baldwin Piano & Organ Company again became privately owned. Two years previously Baldwin had 
joined with the South Korean piano maker SAMICK to form the Korean American Music Company for the production of the 
Howard grand piano, a piano which had been made in the 1970s by the Japanese maker KAWAI. 

In 1985 Baldwin gained control of the action-making firm PRATT, READ (est. 1798) to form the Pratt- Win Corporation, 
and its piano action production was transferred to the Baldwin plant at Juarez, Mexico. In the same year, in an effort to 
diversify in an economic climate that saw several old-line piano companies go out of business, Baldwin began the 
manufacture of a full line of grandfather clocks. In 1987 Baldwin sold Bechstein, acquiring in 1988 the American piano and 
organ building firm of WURLITZER (est. 1856) as wholly owned subsidiary, with independent sales, marketing, and 
manufacturing operations. When Baldwin purchased Wurlitzer in 1988, it also acquired the total assets of the Aeolian 
Corporation, which Wurlitzer had acquired in 1985 when Aeolian went out of business. Over the years, Aeolian had acquired 
many notable piano names, including the historic name of Chickering & Sons (est. 1823). In 1989, Baldwin also acquired 
Chas. Pfriemer, a manufacturer of piano FELTS since 1870, and Baldwin's chief supplier of these materials. In 1989 Baldwin 
could make the claim that all piano markets and categories were covered by its operations: grands for concert and artist use, a 
concert vertical, decorator-styled verticals for the home, studio uprights for the schools, ELECTRONIC PIANOS for lab and 
teaching systems, and a PLAYER PIANO, with electronic KEYBOARDS utilizing digital sampling technology. Advertising 
could claim twenty-nine different grand piano models, thirty-five vertical piano models, seventeen models of electronic and 
portable keyboards, and eight "classical" organs, comprising probably the widest diversity of pianos and organs offered by 
any domestic maker. 

Baldwin earlier had built a line of lower-priced grand pianos called the Classic Series which left much to be desired and was 
terminated in 1994. The Classic line was then redesigned and considerably improved, incorporating some of the features of 
the Artist Series. Bearing the Chickering name, it is built in the United States. 

Baldwin also markets a line of smaller grand pianos (4-foot 7-inch, 5-foot 1-inch, and 5-foot 8-inch) under the Wurlitzer 
name. These pianos are made in Korea by Samick, with whom Wurlitzer has had a working relationship for a number of 
years. Baldwin also sold a line of 42-inch vertical pianos through its Wurlitzer division made by the Chinese Beijing Piano 
Company using the J. & C.Fischer, and later, KRANICH & BACH names, both having previously been owned by Aeolian. 
The piano now bears the Wurlitzer name, and most are made in the United States. 

Earlier in its history Baldwin built a number of pianos under different names or for other firms. These included the Franke, 
the Regis, the Modello (discontinued 1930), H.Schroeder (discontinued 1938), Winton (discontinued 1940), Sargent 
(discontinued 1942), and Howard (est. 1895, discontinued 1998). Several of these pianos had serial numbers in the same 
sequence as the Acrosonic. 

Baldwin's vertical pianos are currently produced in three groups, the first of which consists of six 4314- inch console 
pianos, three of which bear the Acrosonic name. The Professional Series includes the 45-inch Hamilton, a 48-inch 
Professional Upright (introduced in 1997), and a 52'/2-inch Concert Vertical. The Hamilton, introduced in 1938-39, continues 
to be one of the most widely used pianos in the United States. With sales of nearly one -half million, it is the largest-selling 
piano ever built, according to its makers. 

Baldwin has made several moves to streamline its operations. In 1999 it moved its assembly work from the Conway, 
Arkansas plant to Trumann, Arkansas, and in the same year a new foundry opened in Brazil to produce piano plates using 
Brazilian ore. Each Baldwin grand is now assigned a code number, unique to that instrument, which is cast into the PLATE. 
This number provides information on the construction of the plate, its chemical makeup, and the date on which it was made. 
Kept on file by Baldwin, it allows each piano plate to be traced by its makers. Baldwin also sold its finance division in order 
to concentrate on its piano and electronics pursuits. Baldwin operates an electronics manufacturing facility in Fayetteville, 
Arkansas, which makes components for the trade as well as for Baldwin's own ConcertMaster player system. 

Baldwin no longer makes classical church organs, having chosen instead to devote its electronics expertise to the 
development of digital pianos and electronic player pianos. Introduced in 1995 bearing the name Pianovelle, the instruments 
are produced in two series. All have 88-note keyboards, and two are housed in simulated grand piano cases. Others are built in 
vertical cases somewhat similar to that of a small spinet piano, while one is portable and is played resting on a table or some other 
means of support. Some have weighted actions in an effort to simulate the touch of a conventional grand piano, while others 
have hammer-weighted actions with escapement to further the likeness. These instruments are capable of effects far exceeding 
those of the conventional piano, such as the ability to record and play back, to furnish harmonies for a given melody utilizing 
any of one thousand different available tonal qualities, and, in an effort to produce the most realistic piano tone possible, to 
reproduce the natural resonance of the SOUNDBOARD and STRINGS when the DAMPER comes to rest. Even the 
resonance of the plate is reproduced, as is the "ring," or sympathetic vibration produced in the use of the damper PEDAL. 

Another Baldwin development in the area of electronics is the computer-driven ConcertMaster player system. Introduced in 
1997 the ConcertMaster utilizes portions of its technology under license to QRS, the world's largest and oldest manufacturer 
of player roles, with an electronic player system of its own. The ConcertMaster can be installed in any new Baldwin, 


Chickering, or Wurlitzer piano, grand or upright. It can play almost all of the MIDI floppy disc software currently available, 
as well as record, play back, and store upward of fifty thousand selections, and comes loaded with twenty hours of music. A 
simpler, less expensive version became available in 2000 under the name ConcertMaster CD and can be installed in any make 
of piano. 

Baldwin maintains a roster of professional musicians, including pianists, composers, singers, and conductors, who use the 
Baldwin piano and give it their unsolicited endorsement. Baldwin produces some twenty thousand acoustic pianos annually, 
making it the largest manufacturer of pianos in the United States. 

During recent years Baldwin has suffered financial losses, a condition brought about by mismanagement and lack of focus 
among its three piano lines: Baldwin, Chickering, and Wurlitzer. Baldwin was forced to sell its contract electronics division 
and its piano cabinet plant at Greenwood, Mississippi, to raise capital. Robert J.Jones, former executive vice-president of Samick 
America Corporation, was elected president and CEO of Baldwin. His strategy for regaining solvency involves trimming 
expenses by reducing overhead and consolidating manufacturing operations, with adequate differentiation between piano lines 
to cover all major price points and eliminate duplication. 

On 25 May 2001 Baldwin Piano & Organ Company, unable to meet its payroll, filed for Chapter 1 1 bankruptcy in Federal 
Bankruptcy Court. Baldwin's CEO remains optimistic about the future and said that with the support of Baldwin's dealers and 
employees, "Baldwin can return to profitability within a relatively short period." 



"Baldwin Acquires Wurlitzer Keyboard Business." The Music Trades 136 (February 1988) : 20, 116-18. 

"Baldwin Celebrates 125th with New Electronics and Aggressive Marketing." The Music Trades 135 (February 1987): 94-95. 

"The D.H.Baldwin Company." Unpublished manuscript. The Baldwin Piano and Organ Company, 1987. 

"Baldwin Expand Market Share." The Music Trades 130 (July 1982): 84, 86. 

"Baldwin Files Chapter 11." The Music Trades (July 2001): 60. 

"Baldwin Piano and Organ Company." The Purchaser 's Guide to the Music Industries. New York: The Music Trades Corporation, 1989. 

"Baldwin Secures Dcbtor-in-Posscssion Financing." The Music Trades (August 2001): 34. 

"Baldwin Sells Contract Electronics Div. and Shutters Greenwood Plant." The Music Trades (2001): 33. 

"Bob Jones New Baldwin CEO." The Music Trades (June 2001): 26. 

"The Baldwin Story." The Music Trades (September 1962): 39- 45. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. 2 vols. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 19 1 1 . Vol. 1 . Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed., Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 

Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 10th ed., Albuquerque, N.M.: Larry E.Ashley, 1997. 

"Pratt-Read and Baldwin Form Pratt- Win Corp. to Manufacture Keys and Actions in Mexico." The Music Trades 133 (June 1985): 50. 
The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. Edited by Brian T.Majeski. Englewood, N.J.: The Music Trades Corporation, 2000. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America , 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 
Wulsin, Lucien. "A Piano Man Looks Back." The Music Trades (February 1963): 39-43. 

The barrel piano is a mechanically played piano in which the musical program is provided by a barrel or cylinder, most 
commonly of wood and very occasionally of metal, the surface of which is equipped with protrusions that operate the hammer 
action of the instrument. In the case of the wooden barrel, these are in the form of "pins" resembling headless nails; metal 
cylinders have holes or slots into which the ends of metal levers may drop to sound a musical note. In all such instruments, 
the linkage to the strung back of the piano is via a series of simple hammer mechanisms, one for each note, mounted in a 
KEYFRAME placed adjacent to the surface of the barrel so that its projections (or, very rarely, surface slots) can act on the 
hammer action. 

In other respects, the piano frame is conventional, the greater majority of all instruments, particularly those intended for 
street use, being wood framed. As in the conventional keyboard piano, bass notes are copper-spun bi-chords, the remainder 
being tri-chords. Treble registers are often provided with four, and occasionally, five strings. 

The barrel is the earliest form of fixed musical program as applied to mechanical instruments, and its origins are to be 
found in the early mechanical organ or "barrel organ." 

The use and development of barrel-played pianos proceeded along two parallel courses. First, it was seen as a way of 
providing a respectable performance from a piano without the services of a pianist, and makers such as John LONGMAN, 
Thomas ROLFE, and others incorporated such mechanisms into their instruments for use in the home. Longman, for example, 
made a number of drawing-room vertical barrel pianos that were intended only for self-playing: they had no KEYBOARD. 
Rolfe made instruments that had both keyboard and barrel actions. Both these varieties were clockwork-driven when in automatic 
play, the driving force being the energy stored in a descending weight. The musical program was almost exclusively the dance 

Fig. 25. Intended for indoor use in cafes, restaurants, and bars, the clockwork-driven barrel piano was frequently provided with percussion 
effects. This example has (a) triangle, (b) snare drum, (c) castanets. 

or minuet. Combined barrel-and-finger instruments (the contemporary term used to indicate the dual capability) were made 
mainly in England (specifically in London), Germany, France, and the Low Countries. 

A characteristic of these dual-purpose instruments was that, because there were two distinct piano actions, one for 
mechanical use and one for hand-playing, and since, in the case of instruments made by the better makers, the actions were 
placed either side of the soundboard with the rear action striking the strings through a slit in the soundboard, it was possible to 
accompany the automatic music by hand. 

The second line of development was in the instruments made for public use; there were two main types: the hand-turned, 
open-air piano, commonly known as the STREET PIANO, and the cafe or bar piano. These latter were always clockwork- 
driven, using either a descending weight or, most commonly, a large spring motor. These last two categories are the ones 
most closely associated with the Italians, both itinerant manufacturers and street musicians traveling to France, Germany, 
England, and America to produce them in large quantities. The barrels were replaceable and could be exchanged or repinned 
with new music as required to keep the program up-to-date. 

A variation on the Italian style was offered by the renowned German maker of automatic musical instruments, Paul 
Lochmann of Leipzig, who used thin perforated metal cylinders to replace the heavy and awkward wooden barrel. 

The barrel piano developed into the barrel-operated piano ORCHESTRION where, in addition to piano STRINGS, 
percussion instruments were added such as drums, triangle, wood blocks, and tambourine. The variety known as the cafe 


piano, produced mainly in Belgium, France, and Germany, was a popular interpreter of light music and dances for public 
places. It was superseded by the piano orchestrions produced in Germany and America, which operated on the pneumatic 
principle and could provide more comprehensive music and offer the ready changing of tunes by substituting a small roll of 
perforated paper for the cumbersome barrel and its delicate musical pinning. 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Tniceil to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 

Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973:2d ed.: Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur WJ.G. Clockwork Music— An Illustrated History. London: Allen & Unwin, 1973. 

. Pianola. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

. The Mechanics of Mechanical Music. London: OrdHume, 1973. 


The term "beats" refers to the augmentation and diminution of sound resulting from two STRINGS vibrating at slightly 
different frequencies. This phenomenon is the basis of piano TUNING For example, if one string vibrating at 440 cycles-per- 
second (CPS) is sounded along with one at 441 CPS, one hears, instead of a pure, even tone, a distinct though brief increase in 
volume every second. This occurs when the unsynchronous pressure waves produced by each string periodically overlap, 
much as overlapping ocean waves combine and increase in power. By regulating the number of beats, the tuner can accurately 
adjust the PITCH of each string. 

See also Acoustics 



"Bebung" is a German word indicating a vibrato played upon the clavichord from the eighteenth century onward. Its aim 
was to give more expression and to sustain the notes. There is no mention of "bebung" before the eighteenth century. During 
the nineteenth century the term was sometimes used for SOSTENENTE pianos with repeating HAMMERS. Another name 
for these instruments was "pianos with Italian Tremendo." Such a piano was patented in 1841 in Paris by Mrs. Girard- 
Romagnac (French Patent no. 12,079). 



For generations the name Bechstein has been synonymous with excellence in the art of piano construction. From the very 
beginning, composers such as FRANZ LISZT, Richard Wagner, and JOHANNES BRAHMS would express their pleasure in 
playing the instrument. A generation later, pianists such as Josef Ho fmann and Artur Schnabel would declare the Bechstein as 
the "realization of an ideal in a piano," and a "triumph of touch and tone." 

The founder of this symbol of approbation, Carl Bechstein (1826-1900), was born in the Thuringian town of Gotha 
(Germany). Years of travel and apprenticeships began in Erfurt, where he developed a passionate interest in piano building 
and where he worked with his brother-in-law, piano maker Johann Gleitz. From 1844 until 1852, Bechstein traveled 
considerably, working in Dresden with the Pleyel company, in Berlin with Perau, and in Paris with the firm of Pape and 
Kriegelstein. On returning to Berlin, Bechstein took over management of the Perau factory. Later, in Paris again, he was made 
superintendent of Pape and Kriegelstein' s factory. At the conclusion of his travels, Bechstein settled down in Berlin to 
establish his own piano factory. 

In 1853, at age twenty-seven, after a period of nine months Bechstein produced his first two pianos, followed three years 
later by his first GRAND PIANO. Learning that Liszt, with his remarkable strength, often broke the STRINGS of certain 
pianos of his day, such as the ERARD, Bechstein built an instrument that could withstand greater and more powerful virtuoso 
performances. Hans von Billow proved the point by performing the Liszt B-Minor Sonata on the new Bechstein grand with 
great success. In the process of creating his new instrument, Bechstein employed CROSS-STRINGING on a cast-iron 
FRAME (as used in America), and combined the powerful tone of the ENGLISH ACTION with the repetition action of the 
French. At the Industrial and Art Exhibition in London in 1862, Bechstein won the silver medal. As a result of this success, 
and an even greater success at the Exposition Universelle of Paris in 1867, Bechstein began to secure a place among master 
piano builders of the day. 

Orders for UPRIGHT and grand pianos first came from England and Russia; once London was supplied with pianos, 
Australia and Canada, members of the Commonwealth, were also included. Annual output ran from three hundred pianos 
during the 1860s, to over five thousand pianos by 1900. In 1879, the Bechstein firm sold its own pianos in London, and 
eventually the market opened worldwide, including dealerships, in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America. 


Upon Carl Bechstein's death in 1900, his three sons, Edwin, Carl, and Johann, took over the company's management. In 
1901 a London branch was established on Wigmore Street, where part of the building contained a 550-seat concert hall. Years 
later this "Bechstein Hall" was renamed the Wigmore Hall. 

The two world wars and the Great Depression had a profound effect on the fortunes of the firm. Moreover, in 1933, the sale 
of the "neo-Bechstein," an experimental piano using fewer strings per note, strung over an amplified SOUNDBOARD, failed 
to gain public acceptance. During World War II the Bechstein factory was almost totally destroyed, and only after efforts 
were made to reassemble its workers did the firm begin to reestablish its former reputation. Grand piano building began again 
in 1951. In 1963 the company was acquired by the Baldwin Company. 

In 1986 Baldwin sold its Bechstein unit to Karl Schulze, a well-known German master piano craftsman. Back in German 
hands, and under new management, the Bechstein Company regained a new vitality. Because of acquisitions in 1991 and 
1992, the company changed its name to "Bechstein Group Berlin," which was established to offer a wider range of pianos, 
including the affordable Zimmermann (est. 1884 in Leipzig) upright; the W.Hoffmann (est. 1904 in Berlin, now made in 
Europe in cooperation between Bechstein and Petrof [Czech Republic]); and the Euterpe (made in Europe exclusively for 
Bechstein), as well as the prestigious Bechstein grand pianos. In 1998 after Bechstein went public, Sachsische 
Pianofortefabrik GmbH, with headquarters in Seifhennersdorf, became a branch of Bechstein Pianofortefabrik. Business 
reports indicate that in contrast to its competitors Bechstein continues to thrive. 



Burde, Wolfgang. The House of Bechstein , A Chronicle— 1853 Up to the Present. Berlin: C.Bechstein Pianofortefabrik, n.d. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Boston: Brookside Press, 1987. 

The New Grove Diciiomnr of Music ami Musiciims. 6th ed. vol. 2. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1980. 
Palmieri, Robert. Letter from Sylvia Schlutius, agent of C.Bechstein Pianofortefabrik AG, Berlin, 23 November 200 1 . 
BECK, FREDERICK (fl. 1756-1798) 

Frederick (Fredericus) Beck (b. Germany?; d. London) was one of the so-called TWELVE APOSTLES. Little is known of 
his early life and work but a reference in Adelaide de Place suggests that he may first have operated a workshop in Paris at 
364 rue Saint-Denis prior to his arrival in London. Clinkscale lists thirteen known instruments; of those that are dated, the 
earliest is 1772 and the latest 1788, with attributions as late as 1798. Most are SQUARE or table instruments, some with 
simple trestle stands. ACTIONS are predominantly English single. One surviving Beck instrument is a five-octave 
CABINET piano — there is no recess for the player's legs — in an outstandingly decorated CASE. This is dated 1775 and bears 
the SERIAL NUMBER 2,000. Beck was at work at 4 Broad Street, Golden Square, from 1774, but in the last reference to his 
name (1794) his address is given as 10 Golden Square, Carnaby Market. Confusingly, one instrument is marked "No. 10 
Broad Street, Soho," which most likely is the same as one or both of the two other recorded addresses; styles of address in 
London at this time were frequently variable. There was a spinet maker of the same name at work in Lavenham, England, in 
1741 but it is most unlikely that this was the same man. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord & Clavichord, 1440-1840. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974. 
Clinkscale, Martha Makers of the Piano: 1700-1820. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 
Place, Adelaide de. he Piano-forte a Paris entre 1760 et 1822. Paris, 1986. 
BECKER, JOHN CONRAD (fl. ca. 1801-1841) 

John Conrad Becker was a Bavarian-born piano maker who worked in London for a short while at the start of the 
nineteenth century. In 1801 he was at Princes Street, Soho, and was granted British PATENT no. 2,551 of that year for 
"improvements in musical instruments, chiefly applicable to harps and pianofortes." 

His invention was twofold. First, he proposed a system of producing sharps and flats from natural notes by a mechanism 
that turned the wrest pins to tighten or slacken the string slightly. The technical impracticability of this technique was later 
eradicated by SEBAS-TIEN ERARD in his important patent for the mechanism of the concert harp: in this, he rightly left the 
TUNING PINS alone and tightened the STRINGS, using a mechanical toggle to adjust the speaking (vibrating) length of the 

Becker's second proposition was the elimination of HAMMERS to strike the strings. He replaced them with "one or more 
wheels" turned by a PEDAL to vibrate the strings. JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS produced a similar instrument in Philadelphia 
in the following year. None of Becker's instruments is known to survive. He later returned to Germany and with his son Jacob 


subsequently moved to St. Petersburg in Russia, where together they founded the renowned pianomaking business that bore 
their name. 



Grove Dictiomny of Music & Musicians. 1st cd. Edited by Sir George Grove. London: Macmillan, 1879. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 
Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press,1973. 2d ed.: Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

The becket is the bend where the piano STRING passes through the TUNING PIN. 



Because of his great musical prominence, because of the central role played by the piano in his oeuvre, and because he 
lived at a time when the piano was at an interesting and dynamic phase in its development, Ludwig van Beethoven exerted a 
powerful influence on the future direction of piano manufacture. By his constant demands for pianos that were more sturdy, 
more resistant, and had a stronger tone, Beethoven played an important role in encouraging builders to develop their 
instruments in this direction. 

Beethoven's initial impact in Vienna was as a pianist playing primarily his own music or improvising, rather than solely as 
a composer. He astonished the Viennese, impressing them with the elemental force of his performances. One critic in 1791 
commented on Beethoven's "fiery expression," saying that his playing "differs from the usual method of treating the piano, 
that it seems as if he had struck out on an entirely new path for himself." Although from the start his piano writing shows 
numerous features idiomatic to the Viennese FORTEPIANO, in performance he often transcended that instrument's 
limitations, if contemporary reports can be credited. Anton Reicha recounted that when Beethoven was playing a MOZART 
concerto at court, instead of turning pages he (Reicha) was mostly occupied with wrenching out STRINGS of the piano that 
had snapped, and disentangling the HAMMERS! This intensity of playing required pianos that were more powerful in tone in 
order to accommodate the heightened level of expressivity, and instruments that were strung and built more sturdily in order 
to resist such powerful onslaughts. 

Three pianos that actually belonged to Beethoven — the French ERARD in the Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum, the 
English BROADWOOD in the Budapest National Museum, and the Austrian GRAF in the Bonn Beethovenhaus — are extant. 
However, these provide only a partial picture of the instruments the master actually used and, in and of themselves, give a 
one-sided and possibly misleading view of his preferences in pianos. 

Beethoven' s most enduring relationship with a piano manufacturer was with the firm associated with the names STEIN 
and STREICHER. As early as 1783 Bee-thoven is reported as preferring instruments manufactured by Johann Andreas Stein 
of Augsburg. The with the Stein family continued after the elder Stein's death in 1792, when the company was taken over by 
Stern's two children; the removal of the firm's headquarters to Vienna in 1794 made it convenient for Bee-thoven to carry on 
dealings with them. Beethoven developed particularly close contacts with Stein's daughter Nannette (Anna Maria, Maria 
Anna) and her husband, Johann Andreas Streicher. Although Beethoven preferred pianos made by "Nannette Streicher nee 
Stein" (the name under which their firm was known after 1802), he was extremely demanding in his requirements and made 
these requirements known to the Streichers on numerous occasions; they, for their part, did their best to comply. 

Beethoven's admiration of the Streichers' instruments, coupled with a strong conviction that important changes in piano 
construction ought to be forthcoming, was expressed in the following letter to Johann Andreas from 1796: 

I assure you in all sincerity, dear S[treicher], that this was the first time it gave me pleasure to hear my trio performed; 
and truly this experience will make me decide to compose more for the pianoforte than I have done hitherto. . .. There is 
no doubt that so far as the manner of playing is concerned, the pianoforte is still the least studied and developed of all 
instruments; often one thinks that one is merely listening to a harp. And I am delighted, my dear fellow, that you are one 
of the few who realize and perceive that, provided one can feel the music, one can also make the pianoforte sing. I hope 
the time will come when the harp and the pianoforte will be treated as two entirely different instruments. (Anderson, 
ed., The Letters of Beethoven) 

Around 1802 (the year of the Heiligenstadt Testament), a new and complicating factor began to modify profoundly 
Beethoven's requirements in pianos — his deafness. Beethoven's deafness increased his exigencies for pianos in two principal 
ways. First, he had an exacerbated need for an instrument that would be as loud as possible, simply so that he could hear it. 
This was expressed in a letter to Nannette Streicher in 1817 in which he implores her to have her husband adjust one of his 


pianos to maximum loudness. Related to this, Beethoven required an instrument that would be even more sturdy than those he 
needed at the beginning of his career, because in his efforts to make his own playing audible to himself, he played with ever- 
increasing force on his instruments. The result of this can be seen in Beethoven's letter to Streicher in 1810, pleading with him 
to construct instruments that would not wear out so quickly. 

Although Beethoven was certainly a special case, he was not the only musician asking Streicher for a sturdier, more 
powerful instrument. MUZIO CLEMENTI, among others, wanted to see the Viennese piano evolve in a direction that would 
make it more closely resemble the English piano, with its fuller tone and deeper, heavier action. Streicher at first resisted this 
notion mightily, as shown by a letter he wrote to Hartel (of the firm Breitkopf und Hartel, agents for Streicher's pianos) dated 
1805. However by 1809 Johann Friedrich Reichardt was able to report significant changes in the way Streicher was 
manufacturing his instruments: 

Streicher has left the soft, the yielding too easily, and the bouncing rolling of the older Viennese instruments, and — 
upon Beethoven's advice and request — has given his instruments more resistance and elasticity so that the virtuoso who 
performs with strength and significance has power over the instrument.... Through this [change] he has given his 
instruments a greater and more diverse character so that more than any other instruments they will satisfy the virtuoso 
who seeks more than easy glitter in performance. 

Although the evidence of the surviving instruments is not so unequivocal, here is contemporary evidence that Beethoven had 
an influence upon what was to be the future course of piano manufacture. 

Beethoven apparently never owned an instrument by Streicher, but would simply ask to borrow one when he needed it for 
use in a concert. In any case, Streicher was not the only Viennese builder with whom Beethoven had dealings. Early in his 
career he owned a piano by ANTON WALTER, upon which Carl Czerny played in 1801 at the age often, later calling it one 
of "the best ones made then." Beethoven was very interested in Walter's instruments and wanted Walter to make for him a 
piano with an UNA CORDA stop, which was not available on Viennese pianos at that time. The letter of 1802 in which 
Beethoven expresses this request warrants quoting, for it shows Beethoven's influence and following among contemporary 
piano manufacturers, as well as his high opinion of Walter: 

Well, my dear Zmeskall, you may give Walter, if you like, a strong dose of my affair. For, in the first place, he deserves 
it in any case; and what is more, since the time when people began to think that my relations with Walter were strained, 
the whole tribe of pianoforte manufacturers have been swarming around me in their anxiety to serve me — and all for 
nothing. Each of them wants to make me a pianoforte exactly as I should like it. For instance, Reicha has been earnestly 
requested by the maker of one of his pianofortes to persuade me to let him make me one; and he is one of the more 
reliable ones, at whose firm I have already seen some good instruments — so you may give Walter to understand that, 
although I can have pianofortes for nothing from all the others, I will pay him 30 ducats. ... Furthermore, I want a stop 
bui It into it to give one string only [i.e., una corda.] 

Walter, unfortunately, was unable to comply with Beethoven's request on this occasion. 

The other Viennese builder with whom Beethoven had a significant relationship was Conrad Graf. In 1825 Graf built 
Beethoven a special grand that was intended to compensate for the composer's deafness, insofar as this was possible. The 
instrument, now in the Beethovenhaus in Bonn, was provided with supplementary stringing throughout: trichord from CC to 
C # , and quadruple from D to f 4 , as well as fitted with a special resonator. Unfortunately, even such extraordinary measures 
failed to surmount the master's infirmity. 

Viennese instruments were not the only ones associated with Beethoven' s career. In 1803 he was presented with "un piano 
forme clavecin" by the well-known Parisian maker Sebastien Erard, a piano with a compass of five-and-a-half octaves (FF to 
c 4 ). This instrument boasted four PEDALS, including the una corda that Beethoven had vainly requested of Walter the year 
before, as well as lute stop, damper, and sourdine. The English-type ACTION with which this piano was equipped would 
have been heavier and deeper than the light, shallow, responsive touch of the Viennese grands to which Beethoven was 
accustomed. Nonetheless he evidently gave the instrument considerable usage, since by 1810 he wrote to Streicher asking for 
a new piano, his French piano no longer being of any use. On the other hand, it is possible that from the beginning Beethoven 
may never really have liked playing on the Erard. According to Streicher, "up to now he still is not able to manage his 
fortepiano received from Erard in Paris, and has already had it changed twice without making it the least bit better." Whether 
this judgment stemmed from professional jealousy at seeing his friend using the instrument of a foreign rival builder, or 
whether it was based on reasoned observation, remains an open question. 

The other foreign instrument owned by Beethoven was a Broadwood, given to him in 1818 by Thomas Broadwood, head 
of the firm of JOHN BROADWOOD AND SONS, London, and having a range of six octaves (CC to c 4 ). Beethoven was 
extremely susceptible to the honor of receiving this instrument, which had his name inscribed on a special plaque, and he 


wrote an effusive letter of thanks to Broadwood in which he stated, "I shall look upon it as an altar on which I shall place the 
most beautiful offerings of my spirit to the divine Apollo." Beethoven often showed off his Broadwood to visitors, pointing 
out the beauty of its CASE and lovely TONE. 

Beethoven both used and abused his Broadwood; at this advanced stage of his deafness he would have had to pound it 
mercilessly to hear anything at all. A visit in 1 824 by the harp-maker Johann Andreas Stump ff produced a horrified report: "The 
upper registers are quite mute, and the broken strings in a tangle, like a thornbush whipped up by a storm." Ignaz Moscheles 
had borrowed the piano in late 1823 for a concert at the Kartnerthor Theater, when the piano was already seriously damaged; 
he used it alternately with a Graf, intending to show the good qualities of both instruments. Graf himself had done some 
restoration on the Broadwood, but this effected at best a partial improvement, and the Viennese public remained loyal to the 
local product. 

The issue of whether Beethoven preferred Viennese pianos or his Broadwood deserves to be considered, in assessing his 
impact on piano manufacture. Most writers on the subject have attempted to show either that it was English pianos in general, 
with their fuller tone and deeper action, and the Broadwood in particular, that really corresponded to Beethoven's inner idea 
of what a piano ought to be, or, conversely, that the Broadwood represented to Beethoven at most a prestigious gift, and that 
the true vehicle of his musical thought remained the Viennese piano. 

Neither argument is totally free of logical objections. Beethoven indeed was constantly searching for a more resilient 
instrument and, after the onset of his deafness, a louder one. The Broadwood certainly fulfilled at least some of these 
requirements. On the other hand, by 1810 the Streichers, by their modifications in construction, had also achieved some of the 
same results. Tragically, in his later years Beethoven was incapable of assessing accurately the tonal qualities of any 

Beethoven's early success as a pianist was achieved on Viennese grands, and it was precisely during this period that he best 
heard the sounds he was actually writing. The first twenty sonatas (up to op. 53) were written within the five-octave compass 
of the Stein or Walter fortepiano, and performances on modern replicas or restored originals have shown the great beauty of 
this repertoire played on the appropriate instrument. 

Beethoven's Broadwood arrived late in his life, after he had ceased performing on the piano in public and when only the 
last three of the thirty-two piano sonatas remained to be written. It is ironic that whatever its other qualities, the Broadwood 
proved no more resistant to Beethoven's heavy-handed onslaughts than previous pianos he had used. The main point is that 
Beethoven, a pragmatic man, had naturally been happy to receive a gift from Broadwood in 1818, as he had from Erard in 
1803. For his ongoing needs, however, he could not possibly count on foreign builders. For this he had to remain in close 
contact with Viennese manufacturers, and he did precisely that. 

Whichever type of instrument Beethoven may actually have preferred, his relationship to the piano must always be viewed 
with a certain degree of reserve. For him, the music, not the instrument, was at the center of his concern, and virtuosic display 
for its own sake was anathema. His frustration with the limitations of the piano is expressed in his statement in 1826, the year 
before his death, that the piano "is and remains an inadequate instrument." 

Despite this frustration, Beethoven's impact on piano manufacture is undeniable. His career was part of a trend toward 
more public concerts, taking place in larger halls, for which more powerful pianos would be necessary. The piano during 
Beethoven's lifetime made considerable strides in the direction of what it eventually became. 



Anderson, Emily, ed. The Letters of Beethoven, 3 vols. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1961. 
Clemen, Otto. "Andreas Streicher in Wien." Neues Beethoven-Jahrbuch 4 (1930): 107-17. 

Czerny, Carl. On the Proper Performance of All Beethoven 's Works for Piano. London, 1 839; Vienna, 1 842. Reprint. Edited by P. Badura- 

Skoda. Vienna: Universal Edition, 1970. 
."Recollections from My Life." Translated by Ernest Sanders from "Erinnerugen aus meinem Leben." The Musical Quarterly 42, no. 3 

(July 1956): 302-17. 

Drake, Kenneth. The Sonatas of Beethoven as He Played and Taught Them. Edited by F.Stillings. Cincinnati: Music Teacher's National 
Association, 1972. 

Forbes, Elliot, ed. Thayer 's Life of Beethoven. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964. 
Fiimmel, Thcodor von. "Von Beethovens Klavieren." [On Beethoven's Pianos] Die Musik 2, no. 3 (1903): 83-91. 
Lutge, William. "Andreas und Nannette Streicher." Der Bar (Jahrbuch von Breitkopf & Hartel) 4 (1927): 53-69. 
Melville, Derek. "Beethoven's Pianos." In The Beethoven Reader. Edited by D.Arnold and N. Fortune. New York: Norton, 1971 . 
Newman, William S. "Beethoven's Pianos versus His Piano Ideals." Journal of the American Musicological Society no. 3 (Fall 1970): 

. Performance Practices in Beethoven 's Piano Sonatas. New York: Norton, 1971 . 


Sakka, Keisei. "Beethovens Klaviere — Der Klavierbau und Beethovens kunstlerische Reaktion." [Beethoven's Pianos — Piano Construction 
and Beethoven's Artistic Reaction.] In Colloquium Amicorum — Joseph Schmidt-Gorg zum 70. Geburtstag [70th birthday offering to 
Joseph Schmidt-Gorg]. Edited by S.Kross and H.Schmidt. Bonn: Beethovenhaus, 1967:327-37. 

Schindler, Anton Felix, Beethoven as I Knew Him. Edited by D.MacArdle; translated by C.Jolly. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina 
Press, 1966. 

Sonneck, O.G. Beethoven: Impressions by His Contemporaries. G.Schirmer, 1926. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1967. 
BEHRENT, JOHN (fl. 1775) 

John Behrent was the first builder of a piano in North America. The earliest pianos on this continent were probably small 
SQUARE PIANOS sent from England. A notice in the 7 March 1771 Massachusetts Gazette of a concert in Boston is the first 
record of the presence of a piano in the British Colonies. Newspaper reports from New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia 
mentioned the presence of pianos in these cities soon afterward. 

The first record of an American-made piano is the 1775 advertisement by John Behrent of "Third and Green Streets" 
offering "an extraordinary instrument by the name of piano-forte, in mahogany in the manner of the harpsichord." Since the 
instrument was a wing-shaped GRAND PIANO, it is likely that Behrent came from Germany, where grands were more 
common than in England; at this time few grands had yet been built in England. There is no further information on Behrent, 
whose piano-building evidently was halted by the start of the Revolutionary War later in 1775. 



Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Piano-forte: Its Technical Development and the Trade. D.Spillanc, 1890. Reprint. New York: Da 
Capo Press, 1969. 

One of the most interesting terms used in the nomenclature of piano technology is that of the "belly." Anatomical 
designations for the various parts of constructed items, be they pianos or furniture, tend to surface (often unofficially) where 
the builder's involvement is personal and artistic. Probably borrowed from the violin maker's vernacular, the term "belly" 
refers to the SOUNDBOARD, although the more complete system comprising the soundboard, BRIDGES, and RIM (or liner) 
has also been referred to as such. It is thought that the rounded and crowned shape of violin and piano soundboards suggested 
early on the appropriateness of the name belly. But beyond that, there is conjured up in the analogy the idea of the visceral — 
the guts, the deep seat of emotion, that boils and springs from the belly and nowhere else. 

As a construction term, "bellying" refers to the process of building and crowning the soundboard, attaching bridges and 
other accouterments, fixing the soundboard assembly to the rim (or back, or liner), and finally, adjusting the cast-iron PLATE 
for proper STRING bearing. In the early days of piano making, and up through the early decades of the 1900s, the people who 
accomplished this work were called bellymen, and the equipment they used enjoyed kinship terms such as belly-jigs and bellying 
press. Although belly-related terms are still in use today, they are not as prevalent as in days past. 



The bentside of a GRAND PIANO CASE is on the right or treble side of the instrument when facing the KEYBOARD. 
This graceful feature of both the grand piano and harpsichord design is a result of treble STRINGS being shorter than the bass 
strings that run along the SPINE, or opposite side. 

See also Spine 


BEYER, ADAM (fl. 1774-1798) 

Adam Beyer, thought to have been born in Germany, was one of the so-called TWELVE APOSTLES, a group of piano 
makers who supposedly immigrated to London from the continent in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The Handel- 
Haus Collection in Halle claims that one of its instruments, a SQUARE by Adam Beyer of London dated 1777, is the earliest 
known piano provided with a DAMPER PEDAL, but Clinkscale lists a surviving Beyer square with the inscription "Adam 
Beyer Londini Fecit 1775/Compton Street, St. Ann's, Soho," presently in the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin, that has 
four pedals, two of them damper pedals for bass and treble. This particular instrument is illustrated and described in the 
Tasteninstrumente catalog of the Berlin museum (pp. 83-84). An even earlier London-made GRAND dated 1772, made by 
Beyer's fellow "apostle" AMERICUS BACKERS has what is thought to be the earliest damper pedal. This Backers 
instrument also exhibits the earliest use of iron gap stretchers. 

Of the seventeen surviving Beyer examples listed in Clinkscale, six of the early ones reveal that Beyer included in his 
address (Compton Street) reference to St. Ann's Parish in Soho: "Adam Beyer Londini Fecit 1777/Compton Street St Ann's 


Soho." The parish of St. Ann's in Soho embraces Compton Street. Clinkscale further asserts that Beyer also built organs. In 
Harding (p. 387), this maker is listed as Adam Bleyer [sic], Compton Street, Soho, who flourished around 1774. This seems 
to be a confusion with a Viennese maker of the name Bleyer who is cited by Ernest Closson (p. 105) as one of the early 
inventors of the upright piano action. 



Clinkscale, Martha N. Makers of the Piano. Vol 1. 1 700-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 

Closson, Ernest. History of the Piano. Translated by Delano Ames. London: Paul Elek, 1947. 1st ed. (Histoire du piano. Elek, London, n.d. 

[1973]. Bruxelles: Editions Universitaires, c. 1944. 2d ed., rev. and ed. by Robert Golding. London: Paul Elek, 1974.) 
Good, Edwin Marshall. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Mod- ern Concert 

Grand. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Haasc. Gesine and Dieter Krickcbcrg. Tdsteniiistnuuente tlc\ Museums. Berlin: Staatliehes lnslilul liir Musikforsehung, 1981. 
Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Sasse, K. "Halle an der Salle." In Katalog...des Handelhauses in Halle, Pt. 5. 1965: 139. 

Bluthner is a German piano-building company founded by Julius Bluthner, who was born in Falkenhain on 24 March 1824, 
and died on 13 April 1910, in Leipzig. After working for the well-known piano builders Holling and Spangenberg, a firm that 
over the years had trained IBACH, SCHIEDMAYER and other notable piano makers, Bluthner founded his own Leipzig- 
based firm in 1853. Just one year later his "repetition ACTION" was PATENTED. At first he built only GRAND PIANOS 
because of an arrangement with the FEURICH Piano Company; the latter was anxious to secure its place as the primary 
UPRIGHT builder in Leipzig and made a contract with Bluthner that Bluthner would build only grands and would not 
infringe on the upright market. From 1855 on, however, both firms produced both types of pianos. 

In 1873 Bluthner obtained a patent for ALIQUOT SCALING, which he had invented. The principle of aliquot scaling is 
based on the aural effect of an additional STRING that is caused to vibrate by the vibrations of the other strings without being 
struck itself. Aliquot scaling produces a sound rich in overtones, and Bluthner pianos are known for their full, rich sound. 

The first sales agency for the firm was founded in London in 1876. By the turn of the century Bluthner had built over fifty 
thousand instruments — grands, uprights, and SQUARES — which were distributed by a network of dealers throughout 
Europe, North and South America, and Australia. Bluthner' s sons Max, Robert, and Bruno continued to run the firm after 
Julius' s death in 1910. In 1936 the company obtained an order to make an instrument for the airship Hindenburg. Because of 
weight restrictions on the ship, the instrument had to be of very light construction. The FRAME was cast of a light-weight 
alloy, the rim was sheet metal covered with parchment, and the legs and LYRE of aluminum in Bauhaus style, very 
fashionable at that time. The first broadcast of a concert from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean was transmitted, a technical 
feat at that time which drew much attention. 

During World War II the company was involved in war production, making ammunition cases. In a 1943 air raid almost the 
entire company was destroyed and production came to a halt until 1948. The firm was rebuilt and expanded by Rudolf 
Bluthner-Haessler (son-in-law of Bruno Bluthner), who had been part of the management of the company since 1932. 

Under the German Democratic Republic regime, the company was run as a "Volkseigener Betrieb" [company owned by the 
people], which caused considerable organizational problems but no loss of quality, as the pianos were still largely hand- 
crafted. With the reunification of Germany in 1990 the firm was again privatized and returned into the hands of Ingbert 
Bluthner, the successor to the Bluthner dynasty. Ingbert proved capable of surmounting the problems caused by the loss of the 
Russian market, which had been its chief source of export, and the readjustment of the work force to the concept of market 
economy, and the company was able to build a new factory to house modern facilities, in order to assure continued high 
quality and productivity. 

As of 2002 production was about four hundred instruments per year, including six grand models and three upright sizes, all 
available in various styles and FINISHES. A secondary line of "Haessler" grands and uprights was also available in a lower 
price range. The management of the firm is divided between Ingbert Bluthner, who is chairman of the company, and his two 
sons: Dr. Christian Bluthner-Haessler, in charge of sales, and Knut Bluthner-Haessler, a master piano maker responsible for 
factory management. 

See also Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd 

Translated by Sandra Lustig 



Bliilhncr. Julius lerdinand, and Heinrich Grclschel. Lehrhueli iles Pianoforte/wits in seiner Cesehichte... Weimar: Bernhard Friedrich 
Voigt, 1872. 

Palmieri, Robert. Data from Ingbert Bliilhncr. chairman. Julius Bliilhncr Pianorortcfabrik GmbH. Leipzig: 1,2 December 2001 . 

Founded in Albany in 1837, Boardman & Gray established one of the most famous and progressive piano factories during 
the pre-Civil War period. William G. Boardman(1800-1881), the founder of the business, was a native of Albany. James A.Gray 
(1815-1889) was born in New York City. While still in his teens, Gray was apprenticed to piano manufacturer Firth & Hall, 
where he applied his talents as an expert tuner and voicer. Gray's ability attracted the attention of William Boardman, who 
offered him a full partnership in his new piano company in 1838. Boardman provided the business expertise and financial 
backing while Gray was responsible for manufacturing and the technical development of the instruments. Gray was granted a 
series of PATENTS for piano design and development during the period 1840-1860. In 1850 he visited England with several 
Boardman & Gray instruments equipped with his newly patented dolce campana. In March 1849 Gray in the United States 
and W.P.Parker in England had patented this unusual device. Activated by a PEDAL, a rack with heavy weights at one end 
was lowered onto the SOUNDBOARD BRIDGE, producing a variety of mutations to the TONE including dynamic shadings 
and even a vibrato when the pedal was pumped rapidly. The 1854 article on Boardman & Gray in Godey's Lady 's Book 
describes the effect: 

Pressing down the pedal the tone is softened down to a delicious, clear, and delicate sweetness, which is indescribably 
charming, like the music of distant clear-toned bells chiming forth their music through wood and dell. We strike full 
chords with the pedal down, and, holding the keys, let the pedal up slowly, and the music swells forth in rich tones.... 
Those in the profession who have tested this improvement have, almost without exception, given it thei r unqualifi ed 
approbati on. Toge ther wit pianoforte of Boardman & Gray it has received ten first class premiums by various fairs and 
institutes. We predict that in a few years no pianoforte will be considered perfect without this famous attachment. 

The device, however, was eventually withdrawn. Nonetheless, the illustrated article in Godey's Lady's Book provides a 
fascinating, detailed description of an early mechanized piano factory powered by a forty-horsepower steam engine which 
powered machine-driven saws, planers, lathes, and case-polishing machines while also providing heat for the buildings and 
the kilns. Spillane comments that Boardman & Gray were leaders, not only in piano manufacturing, but also in the high moral 
standards of their business practices. 

Boardman & Gray pianos accompanied Jenny Lind and the Irish-born prima donna Catherine Hayes, during their concerts 
in Albany in the 1850s. Moreover, on 27 January 1857, Boardman & Gray produced a concert in Albany at which the piano 
virtuosi Sigismond Thalberg and Louis Moreau Gottschalk played separately and together on two Boardman & Gray pianos. 

After the death of William Boardman in 1881, Gray's sons, William James Gray (1853-?) and James Stuart Gray (1857-?), 
joined their father as directors of the company. The Pierce Piano Atlas lists serial numbers with years of manufacture for 
Boardman & Gray pianos from 1837 until 1926. 



Anonymous. "Boardman & Gray's Dolce Campana Attachment Piano-fortes, Everyday Actualities." Godey's Lady's Book. 48 (January 

1854): 5-13; (February 1854): 101-7;((March 1854): 277. 
Anonymous. "Boardman, Gray & Co.'s New Music Hall." The Sew York Musical World. 21, no. 3 (15 January 1859):34. 
Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 
Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954. 
Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 10th ed. Albuquerque, N.M.: Larry E.Ashley, 1997. 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 
Stevens, Frank. "The Trade in Albany." The Music Trades, 2, no. 1 (4 April 1891): 8. 

Willis, Richard Storrs. "Winter Travels in New England. Visit to the Pianoforte Manufactory of Boardman, Gray & Co." The New York 
Musical World 17, no. 312 (21 March 1857): 178-9. 
BOHM (BOEHM), JOSEPH (1786-ca. 1850) 

Joseph Bohm was a piano builder and a distinguished member of the Piano Builders Guild in Vienna. On 6 July 1 821, he was 
granted citizenship rights of the city of Vienna, where his workshop was located at Mariahilf 77. In 1835 he was named 
Zweiter Reprasentant of the Viennese Piano Builders Guild, and in 1836 he became Vorsteher [chairman or president]. Bohm 
was] given the distinctive title of "Kaiserlich und Konig-licher Hof-Kammer Klaviermacher" in Vienna. 



Fig. 26. Steel engraving of piano making in the Boardman & Gray factory taken from the 1854 article in Godey 's Lady 's Book. 

Bohm invented a TRANSPOSING KEYBOARD that allowed a transposition shift over four-and-one -half tones, for which 
he received an Austrian PATENT in October 1823 {Wiener Zeitung, June 1823). BEETHOVEN expressed interest in the 
transposing mechanism, according to a dialogue recorded in volume 3 of his conversation books. B6hm also invented a 
mechanical page-turning device. In 1837 he was granted an Austrian patent for an instrument with a PEDAL keyboard of 
twenty-two keys connected to the ordinary finger KEYBOARD by rods or trackers, making special STRINGING 
unnecessary, also adding a five-and-one-half octave flute register. The instrument could be played as an organ, as a piano, or 

Among his friends were the pianists Antonio Salieri, Adelbert Gyrowetz, and Joseph Weigl, all of whom played his pianos. 
Judging from several ornately decorated instruments and his use of fine woods, Bohm attracted a wealthy, aristocratic 
clientele. About sixteen Bohm pianos are known to exist in various collections. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New 
York City owns a Bohm piano from about 1 820, which is said to have belonged to Empress Marie Louise, Grand Duchess of 
Parma. Other Bohm pianos are found in the collection of Rien Hasselaar (Amsterdam), the collection of Georg Demus 
(Vienna), and the B6hm-Kooper collection in New York City. Of these only the piano in the Bohm-Kooper collection (built 
1825, six-octave compass) has the original seven pedals: UNA CORD A, bassoon, MODERATOR or mute, double 
moderator, sustaining, treble sustaining only, and "Turkish" (drum and bells). The pedals can be used in various combinations, 
resulting in more than a dozen different effects. Bohm-type Viennese pianos with five to seven pedals were built only from 
about 1815 to 1830. The pianos made by Joseph Bohm in the 1820s mark the highpoint of a trend, begun in the eighteenth 
century, to build pianos capable of producing a variety of different sonorities and tonal colors. 




Anderson, EmiK 'The L i > erl >ven New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966. 

Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte. Vol. 3. eds. KarlHcinz Kohler; Grita Herre; Giinter Brosche. Leipzig: Deutscher Vig Fur 
Musik, 1983:331,483. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge versity Press, 1933. 

Reprints. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Haupt, Helga. "Wiener Instrumentenbauer von 1791 bis 1813." Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 24 ( 1 960). 

Libin, Laurence. Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Exhibition Catalogs, Robert 

Ward Johnson, Jr.), 1985. 
— . "Keyboard Instruments." The Metropolitan Museum oj Art Bulletin 47 (Summer 198')). 

New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stanley Sadie, London: Macmillan; Washington, D.C.: Grove's Dictionaries, 

Otlncr, Helmut. Der U'ic i I utzing: Verlegt bei Han Lhneider, 1977. 


The Bosendorfer piano is usually identified as the piano with the extra keys in the bass end of the KEYBOARD; it has also 
been one of the most distinguished and sought after instruments for a period of almost 175 years. 

After the death of Vienna' s most successful early-nineteenth-century piano maker, JOSEF BRODMANN, his young 
apprentice, Ignaz Bosendorfer (1794-1859), took direction of the company. Tax records show that in 1828 Bosendorfer was 
granted a permit to start his own piano business. (This predates by twenty-five years the beginnings of the BECHSTEIN, 
BLUTHNER, and STEINWAY piano companies.) 

During its early years of piano manufacturing, the quality of the Bosendorfer piano was such that it earned gold medals and 
honors at the Vienna industrial exhibits of 1839 and 1845. Moreover, Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria in 1839 bestowed on 
Ignaz the title of "Piano Maker Appointed to the Royal and Imperial Court." 

It was not long until concert pianists discovered the excellence of the instrument. FRANZ LISZT, who was known to have 
performed concerts on a number of contemporary pianos, and who was known to have inflicted damage on an equal number of 
them with his sheer physical strength, performed on a Bosendorfer GRAND PIANO to great success. The fact that the piano 
was left intact at the close of one of the master's concerts served to enhance the Bosendorfer reputation and began a close 
personal relationship between Liszt and Ignaz Bosendorfer. After the death of Ignaz, his son, Ludwig (1835-1919), who 
worked in his father's workshop, took over management of the company. 

Both Ignaz and his son were in an uncommon position, historically. Musical classicism was giving way to the Romantic 
movement; Vienna was still the place to be as a composer, and, most significant, the piano was to become the most popular 
instrument in both the concert hall and home. Thus, in 1860 Ludwig opened a new and larger factory and ten years later 
moved again to another location. 

In 1872 Bosendorfer inaugurated a 200-seat concert hall adjacent to his new offices and salesrooms. The Bosendorfer-Saal, 
formerly a riding academy, was chosen by Ludwig himself because of its excellent acoustical qualities. It soon became the 
most popular concert hall in Vienna until it was closed in 1913. Among the scores of artists who performed in the hall were 
Ferrucio Busoni, Anton Rubinstein, Edvard Grieg, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, and Theodor Leschetitzky. 

Ludwig not only managed his concert hall, but he also continually strove to improve his pianos (he was credited with 
having PATENTED an improved piano ACTION). 

The addition of extra KEYS was the result of an experiment with Busoni to reproduce the sound of a thirty-two-foot organ 
pipe on the pianos for Busoni's transcriptions of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH'S works. After Bosendorfer saw how this 
extension enriched the character of the rest of the piano, he put the design into production. 

The extension of the bass portion of the keyboard in 1891 was first applied to the Model 275, built to include four extra 
keys at the lowest end of the keyboard (ninety-two keys in all). In 1904, the largest grand piano built, the Imperial Model 290, 
had a range of eight full octaves, with nine extra keys at the lowest end (ninety-seven keys in all). In length, the Model 275 
was nine feet long, and the Model 290, nine feet six inches. There was also a seven-foot four-inch Model 225 — 
Halbkonzertflugel (half concert grand) — that was constructed using the four extra keys. 

In the beginning the company employed the lighter Viennese action. By the end of the nineteenth century, pianos with both 
the Viennese and ENGLISH ACTIONS were constructed. When, in the first decade of the twentieth century, the general taste 
turned in favor of quicker key repetition, Bosendorfer built pianos with only the English action. 

The "House of Bosendorfer" was prominently represented in the international EXHIBITIONS of London, Paris, and 
Vienna, and its pianos continued to be awarded the highest prizes. Ludwig Bosendorfer often accompanied Liszt and Anton 
Rubinstein on their concert tours, bringing along the necessary CONCERT GRANDS. Ludwig, having no heirs, sold his firm 
in 1909 to his friend Carl Hutterstrasser (1863-1942). 

Hutterstrasser wrote, with understatement, that it was not a pleasure to be a piano manufacturer during the era of World War 
I and its aftermath. Particularly distressing was the deflation of the Austrian crown. In 1913 production went from over 434 


pianos to 136 within a year. Between 1919 and 1929 yearly piano production rose again from 250 to 310 pianos. It was in 
1927 that the Bosendorfer name was honored with a Grand-Prix at the International Music Exhibition in Geneva. Carl's sons 
Wolfgang and Alexander joined the partnership in 1931. 

Production ceased during the later years of World War II, when Vienna suffered severe bombing, and in 1966 the company 
was taken over by the Jasper Corporation, a firm that also made low-priced pianos under the KIMBALL name. Today 
Bosendorfer produces one UPRIGHT piano and six sizes of grand pianos ranging from five-feet eight-inches to the Imperial 
Concert Grand at nine-feet six-inches — one of the largest pianos in the world. 

Another development is the Bosendorfer Model 290-SE Computer-Based Piano Performance Reproducing System. This 
piano, an Imperial model, is essentially a very accurate REPRODUCING instrument — PLAYER PIANO — that, by means of 
computer electronics reproduces faithfully anything played on the keyboard. The system optically scans key, hammer, and 
pedal movement eight hundred times a second, thereby "recording" on computer disk every nuance of a performance. The 
ability to edit, speed up, or slow down a performance is easily accomplished (and without change in pitch). Thus, Bosendorfer 
has kept pace with other piano makers in looking to the future; at the same time the Bosendorfer remains an honored and 
respected instrument. 



Bosendorfer. Vienna: Guttenberg GmbH, n.d. 

Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Boston: Brookside Press, 1994. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos . Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 6th ed., Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Bosendorfer." London: Macmillan, 1980. 
Robert, Walter. One Hundred Years "Bosendorfer" 1828-1928. Unpublished monograph. 

A boudoir grand is a six- or seven-foot GRAND PIANO commonly found in a reasonably sized room of a home. The name 
is a nineteenth-century term, the boudoir being a private room in which a lady received intimate friends. 



Braces form the structural support of the piano. Even early pianos with their thinner STRINGS required a significant 
amount of wood (and sometimes metal) bracing to prevent the CASE from buckling under the string tension. With the 
invention of the cast-iron PLATE in the early nineteenth century, bracing was reduced considerably and heavier strings could 
be used. 

See also Frame 


BRAHMS, JOHANNES (1833-1897) 

Johannes Brahms owned only two pianos in his lifetime, first a GRAF and then a STREICHER. The 1839 Graf, which had 
been ROBERT SCHUMANN'S piano, was a gift from CLARA SCHUMANN after Robert's death in 1856. It had 
LEATHER-covered HAMMERS, single-escapement VIENNESE ACTION, a wooden FRAME, and a range of six octaves 
and a fifth (CC-g 4 ), not sufficient for Brahms's Piano Concerto No. 1, op . 15 (1854-1858) or his tions on a Theme by 
Paganini, op. 35 (1862-1863). The piano was moved first to his parents' home in Hamburg, then to the home of Frau Dr. 
Elisabeth Rosing, where Brahms stayed in 1861-1862 and composed the Variations and Fugue on a Theme by Handel, op. 
24. The piano remained in Hamburg when he moved on. Brahms discussed its disposition in a letter to Clara in 1868, 
indicating that he had not had it with him in a long time. Brahms was no longer interested in having it as his house piano and 
thought of it only as a sentimental item. When the Graf was finally brought to Vienna, Brahms exhibited it in 1873 at the 
Vienna Exposition and then donated it to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. From there it traveled with their 
collection of instruments to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, where it is today in poor condition. 

In 1873 Brahms received an 1868 Streicher GRAND (no. 6,713) as a gift from the company. Photographs exist of this 
piano in Brahms's apartment, covered with a cloth cover, piled with objects and music. He kept this piano as his studio 
instrument until his death in 1897. This Streicher had a frame that consisted of two cast-iron tension bars bolted to the metal 
string PLATE. This partial metal frame supported a straight-strung mechanism and the SOUNDBOARD. The piano had a 
single-escapement Viennese action with soft, LEATHER-covered hammers. Its range, AA-a 4 , would not have been limiting 
to Brahms, although his op. 118, no. 1, does use the AAA. The piano was destroyed in World War II. 

As a student and in his early concertizing, Brahms used a Baumgardten & Heins, a local make from Hamburg. He practiced 
in their establishment, and his first performance of the op. 15 Piano Concerto in Hamburg (1858) was on their piano. Later he 
either rented or borrowed pianos when he stayed in one place for any length of time. 


On his concert tours he played many different makes. On 11 November 1867, he used a Streicher in Graz and three days 
later in the same hall, a BOSEN-DORFER. On his later travels he played BECHSTEINS, BLUTHNERS, and Steinweg 
Nachfolgerns most frequently. He also came to know the American STEINWAY and KNABE. Lesser-known pianos, Trau, 
IBACH, Lipp, and Jacobi, were pianos he played in other cities and towns. Brahms wrote positive comments about the 
German Bechstein, the American Steinway, the Austrian Bosendorfer, and the Swiss Jacobi. Although he played most often 
on German and Austrian pianos, because he traveled mainly in those areas, he also knew the French ERARD. He had played 
an Erard as well as an English BROADWOOD at Clara Schumann's home. 

Brahms's letters and communications suggest that he had his strongest leanings toward the conservative pianos of his day: 
the straight-strung, Viennese-action Streichers, Bosendorfers, and similar Viennese instruments. Brahms performed frequently 
at the J.B. Streicher Salon in his early years in Vienna (from 1862). In 1864 he told Clara Schumann, "I have a beautiful grand 
from Streicher [to practice on]. He [Streicher] wanted to share [his] new achievements with me." (Litzmann, III, 167-8). In 
other concerts around Vienna, Brahms regularly chose Streichers as late as the spring of 1869; Brahms's last solo public 
performance on a Streicher seems to have been 29 November 1874, but he accompanied in public using a Streicher as late as 
18 November 1880, when he played with the Hellmesberger Quartet. 

Brahms performed on Bosendorfers as early as 1862, but only after 1880 did he change his public allegiance to them, 
possibly because Bosendorfer had taken control of the Viennese piano market by then, opening a new Bosendorfer-Saal in 
1872. Viennese concert programs do not mention that Brahms played public concerts on other Viennese pianos, but he knew 
EHRBAR pianos well because he played many private recitals at their salon. He thought highly of the Viennese 
SCHWEIGHOFER. His private devotion, however, remained with the Streicher, as witnessed by his retaining in his apartment 
until his death the conservative, straight-strung, Viennese-action Streicher. 

One of the distinctive features of conservative nineteenth-century pianos (using Brahms's 1868 Streicher as the model) can 
be traced in Brahms's music in his exploitation of its three contrasting registers: treble, middle, and bass. Each register has a clear 
and separate sound quality or timbre, a feature in marked contrast to the prized even timbre of the modern piano. The 
distinctive middle range — around and below middle c 1 — sounds full and mellow, and it can easily dominate both the treble 
and bass ranges. The separation of registral texture is apparent in Brahms's music in his frequent use of tenor melodies and in 
his balance of the voices. For example, a Brahms melody placed in the middle range (the central sections of op. 116, no. 7; 
op. 118, no. 2; and elsewhere) stands out with no special effort by the pianist. It requires only the knowledge of where the 
melody line lies to carve out a place for it; the nature of the instrument's sound will support the melody. 

The bass STRINGS of a mid- to late-nineteenth-century Streicher (or other similar piano) produce a clear, light sound that 
resembles the timbre of instruments from the 1820s more than that of a modern piano. Few interfering overtones thicken the 
tone quality, and the bass notes, though initially forceful, have a very fast decay rate. The strings, therefore, produce a purer, 
softer sound than the modern piano. Because a tone fades quickly, its sound cannot run into the next tone. This allows the 
notes to be heard individually. The resulting openness for these low PITCHES creates an illusion of sustained, connected 
sound, yet the listener can clearly identify which pitches have been played. 

Brahms's written music has to the modern eye an apparent thickness of texture in the lower ranges. Such low-range 
sonorities feature prominently in op. 118, no. 5, or op. 1 19, no. 4, where Brahms used the low-placed third in his chords. The 
modern concern that these notes might not be clearly heard did not exist for a conservative piano from the second half of the 
nineteenth century. These notes in the low range, clear in pitch and without interfering overtones, could be subtly balanced 
within the low-range texture. As a result, harmonic implications, melodic imitations, and other effects that Brahms placed in 
these low ranges stand out in sharp relief. In op. 118, no. 6, the low-range pitches that accompany the opening melody convey 
not an undifferentiated wash of sound but rather are notes that stand out individually as unusual and well-balanced parts of the 

The conservative nineteenth-century pianos, with their clear, sweet, yet sustaining sound in the bass register, suggest that 
normal pedaling in Brahms's music, at both its best and worst, could be less than what the average twentieth-century pianist 
applies today. (Brahms himself, however, was notoriously heavy-footed in his later years.) 

Closely connected to the characteristics of the conservative piano of this period are issues of TOUCH and articulation in 
Brahms's piano music. The Streicher as well as the Ehrbar and Bosendorfer continued to use the Viennese action well into the 
last quarter of the century. This design, different from the double-escapement repetition actions of English pianos, produces 
an especially crisp attack followed by immediate and very rapid decay. Because this action is of lighter weight than a modern 
repetition action, the key feels very responsive. Further, the shallow key depth requires only a very short finger stroke. For a 
pianissimo effect this stroke may seem to require extra pressure, but in fact any change in dynamics needs only a minute 
adjustment of pressure. Overall, the key action seems to require the fingers to move with small, quick, or delicate motions 
even for the most vigorous of effects. 

Such a KEYBOARD easily permits Brahms's wide range of touch strokes and it allows the performer to produce realistic, 
audible contrasts among them. Brahms indicates these various styles of playing in his scores with three words for different 


touches — legato, leggiero, and marcato — and two markings for different articulations — slurs and staccatos. His Fifty-One 
Exercises (1893) were to be used as the training ground for these various effects in his piano pieces. 

The dynamic range of the conservative Austrian or German piano was much smaller than that of a twentieth-century piano, 
yet even Brahms's monumental Piano Concerto no. 1 and his bravura Paganini Variations were performed on such pianos. In 
Brahms's late piano pieces, opp. 116-119 (1892-1893), he asks even less of the piano's dynamic range. His markings hover 
around a norm of p. The extremes of range move away from this quiet level only to pp and ff markings. This range will seem 
smaller yet when considered on the nineteenth-century conservative piano. Even the loudest of these pianos, the popular 
Bosendorfers of the 1880s and 1890s that came in various models — over-strung or parallel strings, ENGLISH or 
Viennese ACTION — had a sound that remained soft and transparent. These pianos made significantly less sound than a 
modern piano, though a bit more than Brahms's old-fashioned, straight-strung Streicher. Brahms's preference for a narrow 
written dynamic range and for the light Streicher sound would suggest that he worked within a dynamic sphere significantly 
smaller than that produced on a modern piano. 

Each dynamic level on a conservative nineteenthcentury piano displays a characteristic timbre and quality of tone, and 
therefore Brahms used these differing levels to coloristic effect. Op. 118, no. 6, particularly exploits this expressive 
capability. The cantus-firmuslike melody speaks with a new character each time it returns at a new dynamic level. In addition, 
the changing octave levels for this melody provide further expressive coloring because each register produces a distinctive 



Biba, Otto. Johannes Brahms in Wien. Exhibit catalog. Vienna, 1983. 

Bozarth, George. "Brahms's Pianos." The American Brahms Society Newsletter 6, no. 2 (Autumn 1988): 1-7. 

Cai, Camilla. "Brahms's Pianos and the Performance of His Late Piano Works." Performance Practice Review 2 (1989): 58-72. 

."Brahms' Short, Late Piano Pieces, Opus Numbers 116-119: A Source Study, an Analysis and Performance Practice." Ph.D. diss., 

Boston University, 1986. 

Collection of the Ivunsthistonsehes Museum, N ienn ustria. j cr Sainnilini <■ Musikt n wntt Part I: Saitenklaviere. 

Vienna, 1966, rep. 1978. 

Edmund Michael Frederick and Patricia Frederick Collection, Ashburnham, Massachusetts. (Further information on this collection in 
Edmund M.Frederick, "The Big Bang." The Piano Quarterly 126 [Summer 1984]: 33; Michael Boriskin, "They Prefer Pianos to 
Furniture." The Piano Quarterly 130 [Summer 1985]: 41-3; Andrew Porter, "Musical Events." The New Yorker [26 October 1981]: 

Finson, Jon W. "Performing Practice in the Late Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to the Music of Brahms." Musical Quarterly 
70(1984): 457-75. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Kalbeck, Max. Johannes Brahms. Vol. 2. Berlin, 1912-21. Reprint. Tutzing, 1976. 

Litzmann, Berthold. Clara Schumann, Ein Kunstlerleben: Nach Tagebiichern undBriefen. 3 vols. Leipzig, 1902, 1905, 

The break is a notch or cut in the treble BRIDGE to allow room for the PLATE. Unless carefully designed, the break can 
result in tonal irregularities. 



The bridge is a strip of wood, usually maple, used to transmit the vibrations of the STRINGS to the SOUNDBOARD. The 
modern piano generally has two bridges: one for the tenor and treble strings, and a shorter one for the bass strings. The 
separate bridge (first PATENTED in 1828 by JEAN-HENRI PAPE) allowed the bass strings to be strung diagonally across 
the tenor strings. Thus, longer bass strings could be used and the bridge could be more centrally located on the soundboard. 

See also Bridge Pin; Soundboard 



Bridge pin is the name given to metal pins driven into the BRIDGE to align STRINGS and allow for efficient transmission 
of string vibrations. 



Sometimes called the "bridle tape," this strip of cloth connects the HAMMER BUTT to the WIPPEN in the vertical piano 
mechanism. Thus connected, the weight of the wippen speeds the rebounding of the hammer as well as holding the wippen in 
place when the mechanism is removed for repair. 


Fig. 27. Plate attached to back of an upright. Long bridge and soundboard are visible. Cut notches in the bridge establish the string's exact 
speaking length. Bridge pins will hold the strings firmly in place. Photo by Elaine Richards Hellmund. Courtesy Whelpdale, Maxwell & 

See also Actions 


BRINSMEAD, JOHN (1814-1908) 

John Brinsmead (b. Weare Giffard, Devon, 13 October 1814; d. London, 17 February 1908) was apprenticed to a 
cabinetmaker; he went to London at the age of twenty-one and worked as a journeyman in pianoforte CASE-making. Through 
frugal living, by 1835 he had saved enough capital to start up in business as a pianoforte maker, initially with his elder 
brother, Henry (d. 1880), on the top floor of 35 Windmill Street off Tottenham Court Road and later (1839) at 3 Upper 
Grafton Street, Fitzroy Square. 

In 1841 he moved to 15 Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square, his brother Henry then continuing to work on his own at the 
Upper Grafton Street address. John Brinsmead's business had several addresses from then on. Known premises comprise: 46 
Windmill Street off Tottenham Court Road; 1 Chenies Street; 15 Charlotte Street, Fitzroy Square; Blackhorse Yard; 1 Little 
Torrington Street; and finally, in 1863, Wigmore Street. 

Quickly renowned for his quality instruments, his success was sealed with the receipt of the French Legion of Honour 
award following the 1878 Paris Exhibition, at which his highly acclaimed instruments were shown. 

He was granted numerous PATENTS for improvements: one in 1879 was for a "perfect check repeater action providing 
increased durability and perfection of touch." 

Meanwhile, his brother and former partner, Henry, was making pianos in Rathbone Place; John Brinsmead ultimately 
acquired this business. 

In 1868 John Brinsmead's youngest son, Edgar (d. 1907), wrote History of the Pianoforte, a once-popular book that ran to 
several different editions. After the death of John Brinsmead, the business was run by his oldest son, Thomas Brinsmead (d. 
1906). A man who demonstrated both acute xenophobia and puritanical attitudes toward his workers, Thomas became a 
somewhat contentious figure in London's piano industry at the outbreak of World War I. Largely through his inflexibility the 
business suffered and, as with many industries at that time, sapped of its expert labor force and management vitality, it was 


unable to adjust to the fresh conditions of the post-war years. In January 1920, John Brinsmead & Company was declared 
bankrupt, and the remaining stock of unsold instruments was found to be very substandard. Cramer acquired the business for 
a mere four thousand pounds and subsequently revitalized the company as John Brinsmead Ltd. (1921). Within five years it 
had recouped much of its one-time reputation for quality instruments and, in a deal with the American makers of the Angelus 
pneumatic player action, it also made some good quality PLAYER PIANOS. 

Brinsmead pianos were produced up to 1960, when the business was acquired by KEMBLE Pianos, now a part of the 
YAMAHA Corporation, where the Brinsmead name remains purely as a brand name. 



Clinkscale, Martha N. Makers of the Piano: 1820-1860. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 
Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent &Sons, 1976. 

Wainwright, David. Broadwood by Appointment, a History. London: Quiller, 1982; New York: Universe Books, 1983. 

John Broadwood & Sons is the oldest firm of keyboard instrument makers in existence. The founder, John Broadwood 
(1732-1812), was born in Oldhamstocks near Cockburnspath on the border of Berwickshire and East Lothian, Scotland, on 6 
October 1732. His father was a joiner and cabinetmaker, and John Broadwood learned that trade from him. 

At the age of twenty-nine he decided to better himself with work in England and so traveled to London in 1761. Through 
family connections he took along a letter of introduction to BURKAT SHUDI from the local laird. By mid September he was 
working for Shudi and began making harpsichords with him at Great Pulteney Street. On 2 January 1769, when he was thirty- 
six, he married Shudi 's second daughter, Barbara. She was one month short of her twenty-first birthday. 

After their marriage John Broadwood and his bride took over the premises in Great Pulteney Street and the mews 
workshops at the back in Bridle Lane. Meanwhile, Burkat Shudi and his family moved to their new house in Charlotte Street, 
off Tottenham Court Road. In the following year, Broadwood formally became Shudi's partner and remained so until Shudi's 
death in 1773, when he became associated with Burkat Shudi, Jr. 

On 7 March 1771, Shudi, Sr., leased to John Broadwood the premises in Great Pulteney Street as well as the Bridle Lane 
mews. At the same time, he licensed his son-in-law to continue the Shudi business and to make use of the Venetian Swell, 
with Broadwood agreeing to pay a royalty to Shudi for each harpsichord sold. After Shudi's death John Broadwood became 
head of the business. 

Throughout the 1760s, while devoting his time to the business of harpsichord-building, John Broadwood was becoming 
increasingly interested in the PIANO-FORTE. This interest was aroused by his fellow work-man at Shudi's, 
JOHANNES ZUMPE. and their mutual friendship with WILLIAM STODART and AMERICUS BACKERS, the last-named 
being the developer of the English GRAND pianoforte. The three men more or less together devised what became known as 
the ENGLISH GRAND ACTION. While Backers produced an instrument (which still survives) as early as 1772, it was not 
until 1777 that ROBERT STODART took out the first PATENT in which the term "grand" was used in association with the 

During this formative time in John Broadwood' s career, on 8 July 1776, his wife Barbara died in childbirth, at the age of 
just twenty-seven. In December 1781 John Broadwood took a second wife, twenty-nine-year-old Mary Kitson from 

John Broadwood's son, James Shudi Broadwood (1772-1851), joined the business as a partner in 1795, the firm being 
renamed John Broadwood & Son. In 1807 he took his other son, Thomas Broadwood (1786-1861), into the partnership as 
well, the company name now becoming John Broadwood & Sons. 

By 1783 Broadwood's records show that the pianoforte began to surpass the harpsichord in popularity; in the following year 
he sold 133 pianofortes and 38 harpsichords. Sometime around 1793 the business ceased making harpsichords altogether. 

John Broadwood had begun to manufacture the so-called SQUARE PIANO around the mid 1770s, initially producing an 
instrument after the style of Johannes Christoph Zumpe, but in 1780 he produced a square piano of his own, which he 
patented three years later (British Patent n o. 1,379 of 18 July 1783). In this prototype he strengthened the instrument and 
discarded the old harpsichord/clavichord disposition of the wrest plank (pinblock) and TUNING PINS, moving the wrest pins 
from the SOUNDBOARD to the left side of the back of the CASE. He also added a second soundboard beneath the main one, 
linking the two with soundposts so as to improve the tone. However, the double soundboard was costly to build for the small 
amount of benefit that it produced. After a short while the innovation was abandoned and Broadwood reverted to seeking an 
improvement in tone quality through more conventional methods. The whole concept was overtaken by the improvement in 
iron FRAMES and the consequent increased tension in stringing. 


With the assistance of the polymath Dr. Edward Whittaker Gray, who established that the TONE of the piano improved if 
the strings were struck at a point that he established as being approximately one-ninth of their vibrating length, John 
Broadwood now set about redesigning the grand piano. His major improvement was to divide the BRIDGE, introducing a 
separate bass bridge. This was in 1788. John Broadwood's divided bridge became common throughout the piano-making 
industry in the years that followed. The earliest known date of a Broadwood grand is 1781. 

The rapidly expanding business of Broadwood demanded a larger manufacturing area, in particular now that the grand 
pianoforte was assuming greater importance. Although the former Shudi workshops had been enlarged with the creation of 
extra room in the Bridle Lane mews behind, additional space was urgently needed, so in March 1787 John Broadwood took a 
twenty-one -year lease on a house at 14 Kensington Gore. 

The Bohemian pianist Jan Ladislav Dussek suggested to Broadwood that the grand pianoforte might be improved by adding 
a further half-octave in the treble, above the then-usual five-octave compass, making the range FF-c 4 . By 1793 these 
"additional keys" were commonplace, and John Broadwood wrote to a customer that: "We now make most of the Grand 
Pianofortes in compass to CC in alt [an archaic key classification that corresponds to today's c 4 ]. We have made some so for 
these three years past, the first to please Dussek... and we have begun to make some of the small Pianofortes [i.e., square] up 
to that compass." 

Broadwood then extended the keyboard compass yet further by adding another half octave in the bass, a measure now 
possible thanks to the provision of the separate, special bass bridge. This brought the total compass of the pianoforte up to six 
octaves (CC-c 4 ). Broadwood's first full six-octave grand was made early in the summer of 1794. The earliest known extant 
six-octave Broadwood grand was made in 1796 and is presently housed in the Boston Museum of Art. 

The output of the Broadwood business was prodigious. Between the year 1780 and 30 September 1867, the house of 
Broadwood manufactured 135,344 pianofortes, of which 30,481 were grands. Of that total, 86,966 were made between 1826 
and 1867. In the year beginning October 1867 (the firm's fiscal year) until 11 July 1868, not quite ten months, 1,570 
pianofortes were made, of which 471 were grands. This enormous output is reflected in the numbers that survive. In 1795 a 
grand pianoforte sold for 70 guineas (£73.50), a square with additional keys at 27.5 guineas (£28.80), a square with inlaid 
case 25 guineas (£26.25), and the cheapest square at 20 guineas (£21). 

John Broadwood retired in 1811 and died the following year. His two sons, James Shudi and Thomas, now assumed 
control. By 1 823 the new premises were once again too small, and James Shudi Broadwood and Thomas Broadwood leased a 
factory in Horseferry Road, Westminster. At that time, Thomas Broadwood was experimenting with the introduction of metal 
to strengthen the FRAME. WILLIAM ALLEN, a tuner employed by William Stodart, had devised a system of parallel metal 
tubes to stabilize tuning and patented it in 1820 (British Patent No. 4431 of 15 January 1820). Its main benefit was that it 
allowed greater tension to be put on the frame, thus permitting thicker and heavier strings. Broadwood had applied "tension 
bars" (meaning, surely, "compression" bars to resist the STRING tension) as early as 1 808 and used from three to five bars in 
grand pianofortes in 1821 (the present author restored an 1823 five-bar Broadwood grand in 1972). Thus, Broadwood was the 
first maker to apply steel bars to resist the tension of the strings. 

An employee, SAMUEL HERVE, made the first metal HITCH-PIN PLATE for a square pianoforte and these were used 
from 1822 onward. From this point, James Shudi Broadwood made many systematic improvements to the metal bracing of 
the pianoforte as a prelude to the metal plate. 

In 1821 SEBASTIEN ERARD patented the "Double EsCAPEMENT Action" and this invention was tightly guarded by its 
inventor. Its undoubted advantage lay in the improved speed of repetition. On many occasions Broadwood had supplied his 
pianos to the king and was thus a holder of the Royal Warrant as piano-maker to the king. However, one of the new Erards 
was ordered by King George IV, and the coveted Royal Warrant entitling the holder to claim that he was the royal piano- 
maker passed from Broadwood to Erard; Broadwood was very upset over this loss of face. 

Henry Fowler Broadwood (1811-1893), the son of James Shudi Broadwood (who died on 8 August 1851), was in charge 
of the business at the time of the company's second humiliation at the hands of the Erard firm: the granting of the Gold Medal 
for pianos to Erard in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in London. Faced with declining sales, Henry Fowler sought advice from a 
team of experts (which included Charles Halle) as to the differences between Erard and Broadwood grand pianofortes. 

Sales were soon boosted by the rising popularity of the cottage upright, while the old "wall-climbing" cabinet upright was 
phased out in 1856. On 12 August of that year, fire destroyed the Horseferry Road plant and with it almost one thousand 
instruments, as well as the tools of the workmen. By a strange coincidence, it was three years earlier to the very hour that fire 
had destroyed the factory of Broadwood's rival, the KIRKMAN firm. 

The square piano, challenged by the cheap compact overstrung upright now being produced in increasing quantities by 
many makers, was phased out in the summer of 1860, although further examples were made for export for a few more years. 
The last one was made in 1866. 

The dismay following the 1851 Exhibition award to Erard was ameliorated with the award of the 1862 International 
Exhibition's Gold Medal to the Broadwood firm for its instruments. 


During the last decade of the nineteenth century the company's fortunes waned through the increasing inroads made in the 
marketplace by cheap competition. New types of pianos were introduced (the Pianette of 1896 was described as "now with 
the full iron frame . . .with overstrung scale"), as well as an overstrung grand that was six-feet four-inches long, said to be "the 
finest short Grand ever offered to the public." In addition, management weaknesses developed, and the market for 
Broadwood's quality grands disappeared by 1900. In 1901 the firm became a Limited Liability Company and built a new 
factory on the outskirts of London at Old Ford, Hackney. 

Around 1904 the company began making PLAYER PIANOS and later developed their own model. Faced with producing a 
player action for their grand piano, they devised a cumbersome unit valve system fixed beneath the piano frame and operated 
by wire trackers. This action suffered from poor repetition through having too many moving parts. Fortunately for the 
company, production of this was halted by the start of World War I. By 1915 the Old Ford factory had been partially cleared 
for aircraft production. Like most pianoforte makers during the war their workers' skills at woodwork were applied to wooden 
aircraft construction. The De Havilland DH9A, complete with undercarriage and bomb cells, earned the company £125 
apiece. As the end of the war approached Broadwood was once more profitable and solvent. With the end of hostilities, 
though, this lucrative contract-work suddenly ceased. 

Player-piano production restarted, this time using proven and reliable actions licensed from other manufacturers. Between 
1920 and the decline of the player-piano business in 1930, players represented almost one-third of the company's total piano 

The business underwent further tribulations and at one time it was decided to scrap upright production and concentrate only 
on grands. However, following extensive restructuring, the company still survives, marking an unbroken record of 250 years 
of achievement, varying fortunes and reputation. 

The Broadwood company played an important role in the campaign to control "fake" pianos entering the market. This was 
a practice that first appeared with the onset of mass-production of cheap pianos around the 1880-1890 period and was to be 
sustained up to the time of World War II. Every quality piano-maker suffered at the hands of the so-called STENCIL-branders 
where cheap instruments would be passed off as having been made by respected manufacturers. Damage to reputation was 
bad enough, but these poor-quality instruments were cheap enough to take a significant share of sales. 

Despite strenuous efforts within the piano-makers' trade association, the stencil-branders were never fully extinguished. 
The emphasis was subtly shifted from factory to dealer when major outlets such as department stores would contract for the 
purchase of a large quantity of cheap pianos and then put their own names on them, passing them off as of better quality. This 
led to a more injurious practice: the creation of false names on pianos that at first sight might be mistaken for a well-known 
name. STEINWAY, for instance, suffered at the hands of the spurious "Steinbach" name. Broadwood was a vociferous 
campaigner on the part of the trade association to outlaw these practices, but the market consistently showed more avarice 
than integrity and the voice, though mighty, could do nothing to stem a canker that ran rife through the industry both in 
Europe and the United States. 

See also Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd 



Clinkscale, Martha N. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1, 1700-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 

.Makers of the Piano. Vol. 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Grove Dictiomny of Music & Musicians. 1st ed. Edited by Sir George Grove. London: Macmillan, 1879. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1974. 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Rosier. John. Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola — History & Development. .... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
Wainwright, David. Broadwood by Appointment, a History. London: Quiller, 1982; New York: Universe Books, 1983. 
BRODMANN, JOSEPH (1771-1848) 

Born in Eichswald (Prussia) in 1771, Joseph Brodmann in 1796 became a citizen of Vienna, where he was soon established 
as one of the leading piano makers. His work was favored by notable musicians, including Carl Maria von Weber, who in 
1813 purchased a GRAND PIANO (now in the Berlin MusikinstrumentenMuseum collection, cat. no. 312). A number of 
piano makers, most significantly Ignaz BOSENDORFER, were trained by Brodmann, who died in Vienna on 13 May 1848. 

Brodmann' s early grand pianos bear some resemblance to the five-octave instruments of the older Vien-nese maker 
FERDINAND HOFMANN in incorporating characteristics of both the school of Johann Andreas STEIN (e.g., the S-curved 
BENTSIDE) and that of ANTON WALTER (e.g., the use of metal Kapseln to hold the HAMMERS). Later Brodmann grand 
pianos (of five-and-one-half, six, and six and one-half octave compasses) are distinctive in having CASES shaped like those of 
a few Walter instruments of the 1780s, that is, with bentsides having a gentle reverse curve leading to a square TAIL. 


Brodmann advertised or PATENTED a number of improvements, including, about 1 800, a version of the QUERFLUGEL (i.e., 
a small piano in the form of the obsolescent harpsichord-action bent-side spinet; the nature of his improvement of this then 
well-established type is obscure) and, in 1825, a laminated SOUNDBOARD. A magnificent PEDAL PIANO made by 
Brodmann about 1815 (now at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna) consists of a grand piano (with compass CC to f 4 ) 
resting on an independent pedalboard piano (with compass C to a, at 16' pitch). Brodmann's business was taken over by 
Bosendorfer in 1828, and inscriptions on Bosendorfer pianos of that year (in the Vienna and Yale University collections) note 
that he was "Brodmann's pupil" or that the firm was "formerly Brodmann." Thus, Brodmann (who, however, according to 
Ottner, himself remained active as a piano maker until 1832) may be regarded as the forebear of the great Viennese firm. 



Droysen, Dagmar. and Sabine Slahnkc, cds. Das Mitsikinsiriiiiieiiieii-Mitseitin des Staatlichcn liislituts fur Mttsikforsclumg: cine Einfiihrung. 

Berlin: Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, 1978. 
Haase, Gesinc. "Hammcrklavicrc." In Tasteninstrumente des Museums by Gesinc Haasc and Dieter Krickeberg, Berlin: Staatliches Institut 

ffir Musikforschung, 1981:71-117. 

Haupt, Helga. "Wiener Inslrumenlenbauer \ on 1791 bis I I / i i / si Den dei Tonkunst in 

Osterreich 24 (1960): 120-84. 

Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus: Geschichte der Saitenklaviere von 1440 bis 1880. Olten, Switzerland: Urs Graf-Verlag, 

Luithlen, Victor, and Kurt Wcgcrcr. / Ylnsikinstn I 1 ienn lvunsthistorisches 

Museum, 1966. 

Ottner, Helmut. Der Wiener Instrumentenbau 1815-1833. Wiener Veroffentlichungen zur Musikwissenschaft. Vol. 9. Tutzing: Hans 
Schneider, 1977. 

Renouf. Nicholas. Musical instruments in tlie Viennese Tradition: 1750-1850 (exhibition catalog). New Haven: Yale University Collection 
of Musical Instruments, 1981. 

is. Curl. Saiiun lung alter J i t I I / / lin I iliu 

Bard, 1922. 

This company was one of Switzerland's most renowned piano manufacturers. Christian Burger (1842- 1925), born in 
Emmenthal, began building pianos in Burgdorf, canton Bern, in 1870. He moved to Biel/ Bienne in 1875, where he was 
joined by Hermann Emil Jacobi (b. 1852). Jacobi, then a trained piano maker, was the son of Heinrich Christian Jacobi (1817- 
1879). The senior Jacobi had emigrated from Germany and had worked with a number of different piano makers in 
Switzerland before establishing his own company in Thun. The earliest existing works by both Burger and the younger Jacobi 
are UPRIGHT PIANOS with a vertically oriented string bed. 

In 1882 the firm's name became Burger & Jacobi. The annual production of the first decade was doubled by 1900 to about 
400. While many smaller firms in Zurich and Bern had not survived the turn of the century, Burger & Jacobi grew steadily. 
Their annual output almost doubled again in the early 1920s to about 740. However, the depression of the 1930s brought 
production down again to pre- 1900 figures. During World War II, production never stopped, but at the end of the war the 
company was not able to take advantage of its lead over German firms. Only in the 1960s and early 1970s did the output 
reach numbers of the pre -depression period. 

The Burger & Jacobi pianos have always had a very good reputation. In 1888 Brahms had praised their quality, and since 
then every Burger & Jacobi piano has carried a small plaque commemorating this fact. Customers were, and remain to a large 
extent, Swiss, known for their extremely critical nature. 

The major production has consisted of upright pianos, and since 1971 no GRAND PIANOS have been built. Burger & 
Jacobi has faced more turbulent times than any piano firm in Switzerland. In 1975 a strike was settled by offering the workers 
an extra month's salary per year, a practice common in Switzerland. Increasing competition from abroad led in 1981 to 
layoffs of workers and to short shifts. In 1986 the factory in Biel was closed and the company sold. Barely avoiding 
bankruptcy, production came to a halt in 1991. 

Under the same roof with Burger & Jacobi was the Swiss piano-building school, Schweizerische Lehrstatte fur Klavierbau, 
founded in 1973. Unique in Switzerland, this school was moved in 1986 to the piano manufacturing firm SABEL in 




Herzog, H.K., ed. Europe Piano Atlas: Piano-Nummern. 4th ed. Frankfurt am Main: Das Musikinstrument, 1 978. 
Rindlisbacher, Otto. Das Klavier in der Schweiz. Bern and Munich: Francke Verlag, 1972. 
Schlcgcl, Maria. "Ein trauriges Ende." BielBienne (weekly magazine) 9, no. 10 (January), 1991. 
BURNEY, CHARLES (1726-1814) 

Dr. Charles Burney is described in the Dramatis Personae preface of Percy Alfred Scholes's The Great Dr. Burney as 
"Harpsichordist, Organist, Composer and Historian of Music, Encylopaedist, Reviewer and Poet, European Traveller, Student 
of Astronomy, Society Man, and Man of Universal Interests." Somewhat surprisingly, he is not described as "pianist," though 
it may be that by the time Burney first owned such an instrument (probably by 1768 when he was forty-two) his ability as a 
performer was not as great as his former ability as a harpsichordist, which in his twenties was considerable. Indeed it was as a 
result of this ability, coupled with his charm and general education, that he first stepped into the society of the rich and 
influential persons of the day, when in about 1746, at the age of twenty, he was introduced through the intermediacy of the 
harpsichord maker JACOB KIRKMAN to Fulke Greville. The latter, styled as "the finest gentleman about town," had 
considerable wealth and invited Burney to become his personal musical tutor. Burney accepted and went with Greville to 
Wilbury House in Wiltshire, where his fortunes changed dramatically, his life becoming much more that of a man of leisure, 
than that of a scholar and musician. At Wilbury, Burney met Samuel Crisp, a man twenty years his senior, who was to remain 
a lifelong friend, and who, according to Burney, was the first to introduce the piano to England. Whether this can be believed 
is doubtful, and the date is uncertain, for Burney related the event in 1805 when writing the article on "Harpsichord" for 
Abraham Rees's Cyclopedia: 

In the beginning of the last century, hammer harpsichords were invented at Florence, of which there is a description in 
the Giornale dTtalia, 1711. The invention made but a slow progress. The first that was brought to England was made by 
an English monk at Rome, Father Wood, for an English friend, the late Samuel Crisp, esq. of Chesington, author of 
Virginia, a Tragedy, and a man of learning, and of exquisite taste in all the fine arts. 

The tone of this instrument was so superior to that produced by quills, with the additional power of producing all the 
shades of piano and forte by the fingers, that though the touch and mechanism were so imperfect that nothing quick 
could be executed upon it, yet the dead March in Saul, and other solemn and pathetic strains, when executed with taste 
and feeling by a master a little accustomed to the touch, excited equal wonder and delight to the hearers. Fulke Greville, 
esq. purchased this instrument of Mr Crisp for two guineas, and it remained unique in this country for several years, till 
Plenius (the maker of the lyrichord, tuned by weights, and the tone produced by wheels) made a pianoforte in imitation 
of that of Mr Greville. Of this instrument the touch was better, but the tone very much inferior. 

The fact that Burney had at least one, and probably two or more pianos by 1 77 1 shows that he was impressed with the instrument, 
and his daughter Fanny describes in her diary an informal musical party at the Burneys' house in Poland Street in 1768 at 

Cerveto, who plays the base very finely, and his son, came in and, to grace the whole set Mr Crisp. We had a charming 
concert — Hetty [Fanny's sister] play'd the piano forte, and Charles the violin, the two Cervetos the base, and papa the 
organ. . .and my cousin [Charles] shone in a lesson of papa's on the harpsichord. 

Burney's compositions, in addition to his writings, were numerous and varied, but it is noteworthy that in England he was a 
relatively early composer specifically for the piano. His first works for solo keyboard date from 1761 (Six Sonatas or Lessons 
for the Harpsichord) though others, using the harpsichord as continuo, date from as early as 1748. A further set of Six Sonatas 
for the Harpsichord followed in 1766. By about 1770, however, he had produced Two Sonatas for the Harpsichord or Forte 
Piano with Accompanyment for a Violin and Violoncello (extant versions survive in the British Library, and possibly in 
Berlin), and this is the first mention of the piano in his compositions, two years after he had acquired one himself. 

In 1775 Burney met the noted inventor JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN, and within a short time he was a favorite visitor to 
Burney's house, being especially liked by the ladies. In 1777 Merlin completed the piano mentioned in Burney's will as: 

my large Piano Forte with additional keys at the top and bottom. . .made by Merlin, with a compass of six octaves... 
constructed e specially at my desire for duets a Quatre Mains. 

Several writers have suggested that the performance of duets at the piano with the old standard compass of five octaves was 
difficult, or even impractical for two ladies of the day wearing hooped skirts. Clearly Burney was interested in this form of 


music, for in the same year that he acquired the Merlin piano he wrote Four Sonatas or Duets for Two Performers upon One Piano 
Forte or Harpsichord, most probably for performance by the family; a second set appeared in 1778. 

Whether he wrote the sonatas to encourage Merlin to produce the piano or he was inspired to write the duets after receiving 
the instrument is not known. However, none of the duets actually requires the six-octave compass of the piano, and it may 
therefore be more likely that the compositions preceded the instrument, and that in any case Burney, who would have wished 
to see the music sell, felt that there was little point in writing music that could most probably have been performed on only 
one instrument in the kingdom, namely the one to be found in his own home. 

Around 1780, three years after the extended piano arrived, an interesting Sonata a Trois Mains by Burney appeared, of 
which only one copy seems to have survived (in the Bodleian Library, Oxford) and which, while according to Scholes was 
"for Harpsichord," is quite clearly conceived as piano music. Certainly this is not impractical for two ladies, for the performer 
of the upper part has only one line to contend with, and this may (with some degree of dexterity) be performed with the left 
hand, or more practically by the "primo" performer standing and using the right hand. Scholes notes that it was thirteen years 
later, in 1790, that BROAD WOOD "put on the market what is usually spoken of as the first piano of five and a half octaves," 
and it was not until 1794 that Broadwood produced one like Burney 's with six octaves. It is surprising to note the tardiness 
with which Broadwood introduced the extended compass of the piano, since SHUDI, his predecessor, had extended the 
compass of the harpsichord down by half an octave to CC, thus offering five and one -half octaves from as early as 1765. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. 3d ed. Edited by Charles Mould. Oxford: Oxford University 
Press, 1995. 

John Joseph Merlin — The Ingenious Mechanick. Catalog of an Exhibition held in 1985 at the Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood, Hampstead, 

London, GLC, London, 1985. 
Scholes, Percy, A. The Great Dr. Burney. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1948. 

Burning shanks is a term describing the process of heating and twisting piano HAMMER shanks in order to set the angle of 
the hammers in relation to the STRINGS and to the neighboring hammers. The heat may be either a small flame or hot air 
from an electric heat gun, and must be applied carefully to avoid burning or scorching the wood shank. 



Vagias, E. "Bunting Shanks?" The Piano Technicians Journal ( February 1988): 17. 

Bushings are the cushioning material (usually wool FELT) used in piano ACTION flanges and KEYS to assure silent 

See also Actions 



The butt is the central part of the HAMMER mechanism in UPRIGHT PIANO ACTIONS. Hinged upon the hammer 
flange, the butt (more properly called the "hammer butt") is moved forward by the JACK and returned to its original position 
by the butt spring and BRIDLE STRAP. 

See also Actions 




Cabinet pianoforte, also called "Cabinet Upright" and "Cabinet Grand," is a GRAND PIANO placed vertically: the 
PINBLOCK is at the top, while the TAIL rests on the floor. The KEYBOARD is supported by two legs, and panels hide the 

See also Upright Piano 



Cable-Nelson Piano Company was a major Midwestern piano manufacturer. In 1903 Fayette S. Cable, the youngest of three 
brothers prominent in the industry, left the Cable Company, Chicago, Illinois, after purchasing the Lakeside Piano Company 
and E. Sweetland Company and combining them to form the Fayette S. Cable Company in South Haven, Michigan. The name 
was changed to Cable -Nelson Company when Nelson joined the firm in 1905. The firm manufactured UPRIGHT and 
PLAYER PIANOS, ranking among the leaders in total sales during the 1920s. 

In 1926 Cable-Nelson acquired the EVERETT PIANO COMPANY in Boston, closed the Boston factory and moved 
Everett production to South Haven. The South Haven firm then adopted the name "The Everett Piano Company," although 
Cable-Nelson was kept as a label name. 



Dolge, Alfred. Men Who Made Piano History. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1980. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1913. 
"Everett Marks 100th with Townwide Celebration." The Music Trades (September 1983): 38. 
Presto Buyers Guide to Pianos. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press reprint (undated) of 1926 Presto edition. 

Piano manufacturing was a thriving industry in Canada during the period 1880-1920, at its peak employing about five 
thousand people in more than one hundred companies. 

To meet the demand of the growing population, pianos were imported from Europe in the early nineteenth century. 
However, if they did not suffer in the long transport, they were often unable to withstand the variable Canadian climate. 
Skilled German and British immigrant craftsmen such as Frederick Hund (Quebec City, fl. 1816) and John Thomas (Montreal, 
fl. 1832; Toronto, fl. 1839) first operated repair businesses and then began constructing pianos in their small workshops at a 
rate of one or two per month. According to early census figures, there were seventeen piano builders in Canada, all in 
Montreal, Quebec City, or Toronto. 

At the time of Confederation (1867) larger firms were being established (listed geographically, east to west) in Halifax 
(W.Fraser & Sons, ca. 1856-ca. 1890), Montreal (Craig Piano Co., 1856-1930), Kingston (John CFox, 1862-1868— later 
Weber, 1871- 1939), Toronto (HEINTZMAN & Co., 1866-1986), Hamilton (Ennis Co., 1863-1911), Ingersoll, Ontario 
(Evans Bros., ca. 1871-1933), and Victoria (John Bagnall, ca. 1871-1885— later Charles Goodwin & Co. to 1891). 

By the end of the nineteenth century most of the firms that existed throughout the history of Canada's piano industry were 
actively operating. Many of them had begun in the late nineteenth century as manufacturers of reed organs. As piano 
production was introduced, reed-organ building began to wane and ceased altogether with many companies in the first decade 
of the twentieth century. The major firms, in addition to some of those mentioned above, were in Montreal and vicinity: 
LESAGE PIANOS, 1891-1987; Pratte Piano, 1889-1926; Willis & Company, ca. 1900-1979; Ottawa: Martin-Orme, 1902- 
ca. 1924; Bowmanville, Ontario: Dominion Organ & Piano, 1879-ca. 1935; Toronto: Gourlay, Winter & Leeming, 1904- 
1924; Gerhard Heintzman, 1877-1927; Mason & Risch, 1877-ca. 1970; Nordheimer Piano and Music, 1890- 1927; 


R. S.Williams, 1873-1930s; Guelph: Bell Piano and Organ, 1888-1934; Woodstock: Karn Piano, 1880s-1920; London, later 
Clinton: Sherlock-Manning Piano, 1902-; Clinton: Doherty Pianos, 1875- 1920 (dates represent piano manufacture). 

Although the industry was centered in the Montreal region and southern Ontario, pianos were shipped to retail outlets 
across the country after the completion of the railway in 1885. Import-export trade existed between other countries of the 
Commonwealth and with the United States (though tariffs in both countries stifled trade with the latter). In 1903 business 
statistics reported 367 pianos imported and 509 exported. HAMMERS, ACTIONS, STRINGS, KEYS, and so forth, were 
imported at first, but gradually companies were formed to manufacture these accessory parts (Otto Higel Co., 
A.A.Barthelmes, D.M.Best, J. M. Loose, W.Bohne, Sterling Action and Keys). The Canadian Piano and Organ Manufacturers 
Association was formed in 1899 (to 1975) and a trade magazine, Canadian Music Trades Journal, was published ca. 1899-ca. 

The industry recovered from the setback caused by World War I but went into serious decline during the 1920s, owing to 
factors such as the decreasing popularity of the PLAYER PIANO, the increasing popularity of the radio and the phonograph, 
and the general economic instability of the time. Firms were taken over or amalgamated until only a few remained active by 
the end of the Depression era, notably: Lesage, Willis, Heintzman, Sherlock-Manning, and Mason & Risch. 

Stability returned during the next two decades, but production demand was never again as high as those peak years 
preceding World War I. The piano was displaced as the focus of home entertainment by more sophisticated home sound 
systems, the electronic organ, and the advent of television. Its importance in the field of music education was lessened to an 
extent by interest in other instruments, especially guitar and accordion. 

Foreign manufacturers began to move into the Canadian market, first with the purchase of Mason & Risch by the U.S. 
AEOLIAN Corporation, and by the 1960s with the invasion of lower-priced, competitivequality Asian imports. Most of the 
Canadian firms had been managed either by the families who founded them or by piano tradesmen (often employees) who 
acquired them. The oldest and most revered company, Heintzman, was sold to a furniture manufacturer and ceased production 
five years later (1986). The two other survivors during the 1980s, Sherlock-Manning and Lesage, were purchased by PSC 
Management in 1984 and 1986 respectively. Lesage closed the following year (1987); Sherlock-Manning has changed owners 
twice since then. In 1991 Sherlock-Manning remained as the last manufacturer of pianos in Canada, although it has suspended 
production pending refinancing of the firm. 



Draper, D. Murray. W.D.: The Story of Doherty and Sherlock-Manning, Clinton, Ontario: the author, 1986. 

Hayes, Florence. "Piano Building." In Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Edited by Helmut Kallmann, Gilles Potvin, and Kenneth Winters. 

Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. 
Kelly, Wayne. Downright Upright. Toronto: Natural History, Natural Heritage, 1991. 
Nixon, D.C. "Making Canadian Pianos." Canadian Courier (October 12, 1912). 
"The Piano and Organ Industry." Industrial Canada (February 1904). 

Roback, Frances. "Advertising Canadian Pianos and Organs, 1850-1914." Material History Bulletin 20 (Fall 1984): 31-44. 

In the GRAND PIANO, the capo tasto is an integral part of the PLATE that forms one end of the speaking length of the 
STRINGS (the BRIDGE forms the other), typically in the treble section where the strings run perpendicular to the 
KEYBOARD. As the strings fan out, AGRAFFES may be used instead of a capo tasto. Normally the capo is cast as part of 
the plate, but there are some constructions (e.g., BOSENDORFER of Vienna) that use a separate, adjustable piece that is 
finely positioned, then bolted into place. The strings run under this rounded V-shaped bar, the bottom of which should be 
hardened so that the strings do not easily indent into the relatively soft cast-iron. Some capo bars have a groove into which a 
hardened steel rod can be inserted. (See illustration under ALIQUOT SCALING.) 



Used on both vertical and GRAND ACTIONS, this screw adjusts the height of the WIPPEN and, in the case of the grand 
action, the height of the HAMMER. The part is so called because one design resembles a ship's capstan. 
See also Actions 



All musical instruments require maintenance in order to assure optimum playing efficiency. Most wind and string players 
are able to tune and maintain their own instruments. Because the pianist is compelled to rely on a professional technician for 
TUNING, VOICING, and repairs, the first and most important aspect of piano maintenance is to obtain the services of an 
experienced, reliable piano technician. 


Temperature and humidity control are also critical elements in maintaining a valuable instrument. Central heating, without 
some kind of humidity control, poses a great danger for musical instruments made of wood. The worst possible environment 
for a piano is one with radical swings in humidity and temperature. In regions with hot, humid summers, and dry, cold 
winters, special attention must be given to humidifying in the winter and dehumidifying in the summer. Wood is hygroscopic 
and it expands and contracts across the grain with changes in humidity. The PITCH of the STRINGS depends to a certain 
extent on the amount of humidity present in the SOUNDBOARD, which expands and contracts with changes in heat and 
relative humidity. If the environment is too dry, the soundboard will shrink beyond the dryness level at which the instrument 
was manufactured, causing cracks in the wood and even failure of glue joints. Extreme dryness can cause complete failure of 
the soundboard and PINBLOCK. The loss of natural moisture in the soundboard also causes the pitch to go flat. In the winter, 
care must be taken to maintain a humidity of not less than 50 percent and a room temperature of not more than sixty-five 
degrees Fahrenheit. Conversely, too much humidity causes the soundboard to swell and bow upward, often causing pressure 
ridges in the soft, crushed fibers of the wood, increasing the tension of the strings and causing the instrument to go sharp. Too 
much moisture can ruin a piano, as it causes the wood in the KEYS and soundboard to swell, resulting in sticking keys, loose 
IVORY, and sluggish response in the mechanism. Excessive moisture may also cause the strings, TUNING PINS, and other 
metal parts to rust. 

The LID of the piano should be completely closed when the instrument is not in use, in order to prevent the accumulation 
of dust and foreign objects in the ACTION and on the soundboard. For instruments with ivory keys, however, the keyboard 
cover or FALLBOARD should be kept open periodically, as ivory will turn yellow if it is not exposed to natural light. Care 
should be taken not to drop pencils, paper clips, and other foreign objects, which can cause noise and damage, into the piano. 
Foreign objects on the strings and soundboard will produce irritating vibrations. Never put objects on top of the piano as they 
also can cause noises and vibrations. Sometimes other objects in the room, even window panes, can cause sympathetic 
vibrations with the piano tone. Vases, flower pots, beverage glasses, or any vessel containing liquid, should never be placed 
on the piano. 

No attempt should be made by the owner, without special instructions, to remove the action from the piano. To avoid 
personal injury and possible damage to the instrument, piano moving should only be entrusted to experienced piano-movers 
who are fully insured for liability. Moths were very destructive to the FELT in pianos made before World War II, but most 
modern instruments are made with mothproof felt. 

Finding an ideal location for a piano is often difficult. In the order of importance, the location should help preserve the 
instrument, be acoustically satisfactory, and be aesthetically pleasing. Ideally, a piano should be placed on an inside wall, 
away from the direct rays of the sun. Moreover, it should not be placed next to heaters, stoves, air conditioners, or near heat 
ducts or cold air returns. Drafty locations next to open windows or doors should also be avoided. Instruments that are placed 
directly beneath water pipes or emergency sprinkler systems should be protected with a waterproof cover from possible water 
damage. Finding the best location for a piano also includes acoustical considerations; usually a piano sounds best in a room 
without thick wall-to-wall carpeting or heavy, sound-absorbing draperies. 

The frequency of tuning depends in part on the severity of the climate, the age and condition of the piano, and the extent to 
which it is used. In any case, pianos should be tuned at least twice a year to keep the pitch level from sagging below A=440. 
New instruments should be tuned three or four times a year during each of the first two years, because the new strings will 
continue to stretch during that period. For instruments in home use, two or three tunings a year are usually adequate to keep a 
piano at concert pitch. An experienced piano-tuner will thump the keys vigorously during tuning in order to encourage the 
strings to stretch and stabilize across their entire length. If piano tuning is neglected, the pitch of the piano will gradually go 
flat, often to the point where the tuner cannot raise it successfully in one tuning. Even after raising pitch, a neglected piano 
will not stay in tune as well as an instrument that is regularly maintained. Concert instruments are tuned before every concert, 
even if there are two on the same day, as the slightest inaccuracy in tuning cannot be tolerated in a concert. 

Tuning a piano is not enough to ensure complete maintenance. Periodically the action and pedals should be regulated. The 
more an instrument is used, the more frequently it will require both tuning and REGULATION. Pianos that are in constant 
use, such as those in conservatory practice rooms and the studios of teachers and professional musicians, require much more 
frequent maintenance than instruments that are only used occasionally. In time the hammer felt will become grooved and 
flattened by the steel strings, necessitating reshaping, voicing, and eventual replacement of the hammers. Reshaping hammers 
by sanding is a possible, but imperfect, solution to hammer wear, because it also reduces the weight of the hammers and 
changes the blow distance between the striking point of the hammer and the string. 

Voicing (or tone regulating) piano hammers should only be attempted by an experienced specialist. To regulate tone 
quality, the voicer first makes certain that the action is in perfect regulation and that the hammers have a proper acoustical 
shape. The hammers are also checked to ensure that they are striking all the strings of the unison squarely and simultaneously. 
Finally, the density of the hammer felt is regulated by needling the shoulders of the hammers so that they produce an even, 
homogenous tone quality throughout the scale. Voicing should only be entrusted to a seasoned professional, as it requires a 
thorough knowledge of the piano mechanism, a sensitive musical ear, and years of experience. 


Most pianos are not regulated as often as they should be. A competent piano technician must check action and PEDAL 
function after each tuning and make recommendations for regulation and repairs. The piano action will function after a 
fashion, even if it is very badly out of regulation, but the piano will not provide satisfactory results and may even hinder the 
progress of an unsuspecting student. 

Periodically, the piano technician should clean the action, keys, soundboard, and KEY FRAME. Only the slightest amount 
of moisture should be used on ivory keys because dampness can penetrate the ivory and soften the glue that bonds it to the 

Piano CASES were finished with a variety of materials during different historical periods. Alcohol-soluble spirit varnishes 
were used on early instruments. Oil varnish was used for many instruments made after the mid-nineteenth century, and both 
lacquer and polyester finishes are currently in use. No single cleaning technique can be used for all of them. To clean a piano 
case it is best to remove dust with a feather duster. A bit of moisture from the breath in conjunction with a soft leather 
chamois skin can be used to remove stubborn smudges, although it is usually best to consult the manufacturer's instructions 
for maintaining the finish. 



Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Boston: Brookside Press, 1987. 

Funke, Otto. The Piano and How to Care for It. Frankfurt am Main: Das Musikinstrument Publishers, 1961. 
Schmeckel, Carl D. The Piano Owner's Guide. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971. 

Present day pianos are built in either the GRAND or vertical styles. The grand piano case was directly derived from that of 
the harpsichord, as BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, inventor of the piano, was a harpsichord maker. Since Cristofori's time, 
numerous piano configurations have come and gone with changes in fashion, but the only types to compete seriously with the 
grand were the square and the vertical. The SQUARE piano (actually rectangular in shape) was derived from the clavichord, a 
predecessor of the piano, and from the virginal, a rectangular harpsichord. The earliest known square is one made by Johann 
Socher in Upper Bavaria in 1742 (now in Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg). Due to its somewhat smaller size and 
lower cost, the square piano enjoyed great popularity for over 150 years. In fact, squares outsold both verticals and grands in 
the United States until the 1890s. The earliest known vertical piano, by an unknown maker, is dated 1735 (according to 
Harding) and looks much like a grand piano set vertically on four legs. It was not until the late nineteenth century that the 
vertical piano ACTION was truly practicable. "Vertical" refers to the upright placement of the STRINGS and 
SOUNDBOARD. Such an arrangement could reduce the instrument's depth to about two feet. Even more economical with 
space than the square, the vertical is today's best-selling design. 

The piano was as prone to fashion and novelty as any aspect of human endeavor, though some of these innovations lacked 
practicality. Pianos have been fashioned to double as desks, sewing tables, and bookshelves. They have been made as tiny as a 
small valise and longer than ten feet. Several makers offered DUOCLAVES, pianos with opposing KEYBOARDS suitable 
for duets. Numerous makers incorporated other instruments into their piano cases; these included pipe and reed organs, drums, 
triangles, cymbals, and even phonographs. Certain styles gained a brief popularity, such as the classically inspired 
HARP PIANO of the late 1850s. Similar in shape, the GIRAFFE PIANO sometimes incor porated sculptural elements. The 
"pyramid piano" achieved its symmetrical appearance by an artful arrangement of the strings and, in at least one case, 
placement of the bass strings in the center of the scale. These instruments generally sacrificed the piano's TONE and ease of 
maintenance for novelty, and soon passed into obscurity. 

As mentioned previously, the piano case was based on that of the harpsichord and other related instruments that preceded 
it. Soundboards and case woods also were basically unchanged from haipsichord to piano. Well into the 1 800s, it took little more 
than a good knowledge of cabinetmaking to produce an acceptable piano, at least for the home market. With the advent of 
cheaper mass production and the resulting increase in sales, piano making turned from little more than a cottage industry to an 
important segment of the Industrial Revolution. The introduction of metal PLATES added foundrywork to the process. The 
resulting additional weight made the delicate and almost portable pianos of the past obsolete. Pianos became less varied as 
manufacturers agreed on standards for KEY size, PEDAL placement, international PITCH, and so on. 

Piano makers have generally favored the use of thin wood veneer over a thicker wood core for most case parts. This 
construction approximates the qualities of today's plywood. Since wood shrinks and expands parallel to its grain, it is less 
likely to split or warp when made up of layers whose grain alternates in direction. Some pianos have been cased with plastic, 
metal, flakeboard, and even concrete, but veneered solid wood has proved the overwhelming favorite. 

Certain problems are inherent in piano-case construction, and these took many generations to overcome. The foremost was 
the pull of the strings on the case, the result of which was a piano twisted like the neck of a cheap guitar. Lack of case rigidity 


also caused TUNING instability and loss of TONE. This quandary was resolved with the eventual use of the cast-iron plate in 
the mid- to late-nineteenth century. 

The distinctively rounded case or "RIM" of the grand piano is today made up of many thin wood layers glued together and 
bent around a form. Earlier grand rims were made of solid wood pieces that were fitted together and veneered. The latter 
method was used by European makers well into the twentieth century. 

The FINISH on the piano is not a factor in its tone, except for the soundboard; on this, a thin, flexible coating is desired. 
Piano finishes have generally been the same as those used on other cabinets. Various resin formulations (shellacs and 
varnishes) were brushed or patted on until sprayed lacquer was developed in the 1930s. Polyester, a type of plastic resin, 
gained popularity in the 1980s due to its high solids content and durability. 

The piano case is a marriage of ACOUSTICS, aesthetics, and engineering. To be successful, it must serve finger, ear, and 

See also Frame; Actions; Rim; Finish 



Bielefeldt, Catherine C. The Wonders of the Piano. Melville, N.Y.: Belwin-Mills Publishing, 1984. 

Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Gaines, James R. The Lives of the Piano. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981. 

Gill, Dominic, ed. The Book of the Piano. Ithaca, N .Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History t raced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- versity Press, 

1933. Reprints. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Hollis, Helen Rice. The Piano. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1975. 
Libin, Laurence. Keyboard Instruments. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. 
Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. Long Beach, Calif.: Bob Pierce, 1982. 
Roell, Craig M. The Piano in America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

Schott, Howaul ' tali of A al Inst incurs Vol. I, Key- boards. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985. 
White, William B. Theory and Practice of Piano Construction. New York: Dover Publications, 1975. 
Wolfcndcn, Samuel. A Treatise on the Art of Pianoforte Construction. Oxfordshire, linglnnd: Gresham Books, 1982. 

Casio, Inc. is a Japanese manufacturer of digital pianos, portable KEYBOARDS, SYNTHESIZERS, SAMPLERS, and 
other electronic musical instruments. These products have been marketed in the United States through the Electronic Musical 
Instruments Division and the Professional Music Products Division. Initially best-known as a maker of low-cost, aggressively 
marketed home consumer instruments, Casio has also developed a line of high-quality professional products. The CPS-series 
of digital pianos included velocity-sensitive keyboards of 61-76 KEYS, preset PCM sample voices, 16-note polyphonicity, 
MIDI compatibility, tuning controls, built-in stereo speakers, and sustain PEDALS. The CSM-10P is a rackmount version of 
the high-end CPS-700. 

In the 1990s Casio developed the Celviano digital piano, featuring a built-in CD player, a more advanced sampling process 
of tone generation known as "multiple point wave sampling" (MPWS), and an 88-key, velocity-sensitive, weighted keyboard. 
Interactive CDs played on the instrument provided background accompaniments for practice and study. RAM cards allowed 
the musician to record and save performances. More recently, Casio has developed sleek and stylish models of the Celviano 
series in sizes that range from 61 to 88 keys with a more refined "scaled hammer action." Additionally, many Casio digital 
pianos and keyboards feature auto-accompaniment and an innovative lighted key teaching system. 

See also Electronic Pianos 



Casio website ( 

English piano manufacturer Challen and Sons dated its founding to 1804, when Charles H.Challen built his first piano. 
Although several writers have echoed this date, in fact Challen seems not to have emerged as an independent entity until the 
1830s. During the last quarter of the nineteenth and first quarter of the twentieth centuries, it occupied a secure place in the 
second tier of English builders, with annual output of around five hundred instruments. 


Challen's fortunes changed dramatically with the arrival of William Evans, who joined the company in 1926 and became 
managing director in 1931. Upon coming to Challen from the CHAPPELL company, Evans designed a four- foot 
BABY GRAND, which by some accounts nearly displaced the UPRIGHT as the compact home instrument of choice in 
England. Much of its success came about because Evans introduced modern mass-production techniques to what had been a 
traditional, conservative family concern; the resultant economies enabled him to reduce prices drastically. Thus, in the decade 
from 1925 to 1935, Challen's annual output rose fivefold to twenty-five hundred instruments, even as many other English 
piano-makers experienced financial difficulties or went out of business entirely. Indeed, in 1932 Challen completed an 
agreement to take over all manufacturing for BROADWOOD, which found itself forced to restructure as a solely retail 

Although perhaps best known to the general public for its small GRANDS, Challen produced a full range of pianos, 
including what it claimed to be the world's largest, a single one-ton eleven-foot eight-inch instrument specially built for the 
Silver Jubilee of George V in 1935. Many more conventional Challen instruments found their homes in BBC broadcasting 
studios, begin ning with contracts after a series of tests in 1936 (the other makers receiving contracts were BOSENDORFER 

Challen and Sons ceased independent existence upon the retirement of William Evans in 1959. The name was sold first to 
Brasted Brothers; then, upon Brasted's demise in 1970, it went to Barratt and Robinson, which in turn was liquidated in 1985. 
The brand names Barratt and Robinson and Challen were then licensed to a firm in Malaysia. Barrat and Robinson pianos are 
currently manufactured in Malaysia by Musical Products Corporation. 



Blom, Eric. The Romance of the Piano. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing, 191 1. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Grover, David S. The Piano: Its Story from Zither to Grand. London: Robert Hale, 1976. 

Michel, N.E. Old Pianos. Rivera, Calif.: N.E. Michel, 1954. Sumner, W.L. The Pianoforte. London: Macdonald & Co., 1966. 
Wainwright, David. Broadwood by Appointment: A History. London: Quiller Press, 1982. 
— . The Piano Makers. London: Hutchinson & Co., 1975. 

Despite its humble origins, the piano quickly established itself as an important participant in chamber-music literature — 
first in Classical compositions, then in a somewhat more limited number of Romantic and post-Romantic works. During the 
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the piano also became the most important vehicle of musical accompaniment, 
especially in the realm of the art song. Less important since World War I, the piano has nevertheless figured significantly in 
vocal and chamber works by a host of composers from Paul Hindemith to Philip Glass. Initially extremely important in 
popular song and jazz, the piano has also declined in prestige as an accompanying instrument, although serious as well as 
popular composers continue to utilize it. 

During the 1760s and 1770s the continuing tradition lost its iron grip on many European composers, including individuals 
associated with the Mannheim school. At the same time the piano began to replace the harpsichord as the most popular and 
versatile keyboard chamber instrument. Those compositional forms in which the piano tended to dominate winds or strings 
(e.g., the piano quintet) contributed to the evolution of the modern piano concerto, especially in the hands of 
JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH. Other forms, among them the accompanied solo sonata and trio sonata, gradually evolved 
into modern sonatas and piano trios, works written as much for the keyboard artist as for his or her "soloist" colleagues. By 
the 1790s, for example, JOSEPH HAYDN had made the piano at least the equal of the violin in his excellent piano trios 
(although he often slighted the cello on the other instruments' behalf). WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART, however, was 
even more important as a composer of chamber works with piano; his enormous output includes dozens of violin and piano 
sonatas, piano trios, piano quartets, two especially important piano quintets (K. 386c and K. 581), a masterful sonata for two 
pianos (K. 375a), a quintet for piano and winds (K. 452, which Mozart himself proclaimed the finest of his life), and a host of 
other pieces, some of them for piano four-hands. LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN extended the piano-chamber literature along 
similar lines, writing sonatas and sets of variations for violin, cello, and flute (all with piano parts, many of which transcend 
what is often implied by "accompaniment") that rank among his finest works. He also completed several piano trios — among 
them the "Archduke" (op. 97) — as well as a sonata for piano and horn (op. 17), a quintet for piano and winds (op. 16), and a 
variety of lesser works. 

Chamber music was not always able to accommodate the demands made by Romantic composers for extremes of 
instrumental color and volume, and several important composers — FRANZ LISZT and Richard Wagner, to name but two — 
wrote almost nothing for small ensembles. Other Romantic composers specialized in chamber works for unusual 


combinations of instruments; Carl Maria von Weber, for instance, left a number of pieces for piano and clarinet. Those 
Romantics with a penchant for more traditional compositional forms and effects, however, produced volumes of chamber- 
music masterpieces, many of which featured the piano. Franz Schubert, for example, is remembered today not only as a 
composer of symphonies and songs but as the author of the "Arpeggione" sonata (D. 821; generally performed today by violin 
and piano), two important piano trios (opp. 99 and 100), larger works for piano and strings, and a considerable body of four- 
hands piano music. Felix Mendelssohn completed several solo sonatas with piano accompaniment, two important piano trios 
(opp. 49 and 66), and a group of less important pieces. Even FREDERIC CHOPIN, who limited himself almost exclusively to 
solo-piano music, wrote a sonata for piano and cello. 

The most influential Romantic chamber-music composers, however, were ROBERT SCHUMANN and 
JoHANNES BRAHMS. Always fascinated by the piano, Schumann produced a justifiably successful quintet for piano and 
strings (op. 44), several two-piano works, solo sonatas, and collections of Phantasiestiicke ("fantasy pieces") for clarinet or 
viola with piano. Brahms published piano trios and quartets, an impressive quintet (op. 34) modeled to some extent on 
Schumann's composition for the same ensemble, a number of pieces for piano four-hands, solo sonatas for violin, cello, and 
clarinet with piano, a trio for violin, horn (or viola), and piano (op. 40), and one of the cornerstones of the two-piano literature: 
the keyboard version of the Variations on a Theme by Haydn (op. 56b). Antonin Dvorak, Edvard Grieg, Bedfich Smetana, 
and other post-Romantics with an inclination toward musical nationalism, also completed important chamber compositions, 
as did Peter Ilich Tchai kovsky, Vincent dTndy, and Max Reger. Influenced by Schumann and Brahms, American composers 
— among them Edward MacDowell and Amy Beach — wrote a number of chamber works with piano; the Beach sonata for 
piano and violin (op. 34) has recently become part of the standard concert repertory. An often- forgotten part of the piano four- 
hands and multiple-pianos repertory (including works for three and more pianos) are paraphrases of operatic and other 
"popular" melodies as well as transcriptions of existing works, including chamber and symphonic compositions; the Concerto 
pathetique composed for two pianos by Franz Liszt, together with Liszt's piano four-hands and/or two-piano arrangements of 
his own symphonic poems and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, deserve pride of place. 

The growth of chamber music outside nineteenth-century Germany and Austro-Hungary was gradual, however, and it is 
scarcely surprising that only shortly before World War I did France produce in Cesar Franck and Claude Debussy, two 
chamber composers of outstanding calibre. Best known today for his sonata for violin and piano (1886), Franck also 
composed a piano quintet (1879). Debussy wrote rhapsodies for saxophone and cello with piano as well as smaller chamber 
pieces; his works for two pianos are frequently performed today. Like other composers of his generation, though, Debussy 
experimented with non-keyboard "accompanying" instruments in pieces like the sonata for flute, violin, and harp. The 
Viennese composers who developed twelve-tone compositional techniques also ignored the piano in chamber works, or 
employed it in unusual ensembles: Arnold Schon-berg, for example, used the piano and other instruments in his Pierrot 
lunaire song cycle (op. 21), while Alban Berg — who otherwise virtually ignored the piano — included it in his Chamber 
Concerto for Fifteen Instruments (1925). 

Twentieth-century composers have, by and large, continued to repudiate traditional instrumental forms, especially in 
chamber music, and the piano has played a less important role in recent chamber works than it did in compositions by 
Classical and Romantic figures. Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives, and Richard Strauss, for instance, produced comparatively few 
pieces for piano and small ensembles; instead, Stravinsky employed the CIMBALOM in his Ragtime for eleven instruments. 
Hindemith composed a substantial (although aesthetically uneven) number of sonatas for orchestral instruments and piano, 
while Bela Bartok used the piano in three outstanding chamber compositions: the Contrasts for clarinet, violin, and piano (op. 
Ill), the Sonata for two pianos and percussion (op. 110), and the very large "chamber" work titled Music for Strings, 
Percussion, and Celeste (op. 106). Since World War II the piano has perhaps been employed most characteristically either as a 
stabilizing influence (especially by composers who prefer a comparatively conventional harmonic vocabulary), or in highly 
experimental ways. John Cage, for example, pioneered the use of prepared pianos in several ensemble works; more recent 
figures, among them Philip Glass, have written for piano ensembles in pieces like Music in 5ths (1969), Music in Similar 
Motion (1969), and Music with Changing Parts (1970) — composed, respectively, for two, four, and six pianos. Even in the 
quasi-popular chamber works of George Crumb, the piano has either been abandoned in favor of other instruments (including 
the sitar), or utilized in untraditional ways (e.g., as an electrically amplified instrument in Vox balaenae [1971]). 

One of the principal roles assigned to the piano (or the piano "part") in chamber and vocal works is that of accompanying 
melodies produced by other performers. Thus the term "accompaniment" has two principal meanings: it refers to the function 
of an instrument, performer, or piece of music relative to another (thus the piano, pianist, or piano part may be said to 
"accompany" a tune); and to the character of that instrument, performer, or piece relative to another (i.e., as less important). 

During the Classical era the piano gained almost universal acceptance as the most suitable instrument for accompanying 
solo singers, small choral groups, and instrumental ensembles. (Only in church music did the organ maintain preeminence.) 
Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven employed piano accompaniments in their original songs, as well as in certain transcriptions of 
traditional melodies. In more ambitious works, especially "An die feme Geliebte" ("To the Distant Beloved," op. 98), 
Beethoven inaugurated the Romantic song cycle, complete with piano writing that transcended mere incidental support. Songs 


and song cycles by Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Brahms, and Hugo Wolf included many brilliant, even extravagent piano 
"accompaniments"; the thundering octaves of Schubert's "Erlkonig" ("Elf-King"; D. 328) quickly became more famous than 
the vocal line they "support," while the extended codas that connect several of Schumann's songs in the cycle "Dichterliebe" 
("Poet's Love"; op. 16) establish the melancholy mood of that work as effectively as do Heinrich Heine's words. The piano 
also played a crucial role in the dissemination of early popular music, especially as an accompanying instrument, after about 
the 1860s. In turn-of-the-century European and American homes as well as in theaters and concert halls, pianos were 
employed to support vocalists and instrumentalists in works as diverse as Paolo Tosti's "Good-bye!," the tunes of Gilbert and 
Sullivan operettas, or the popular songs of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin. By the middle of the twentieth century, 
however, the piano had gradually come to be supplanted as an accompanying instrument — at least in popular music — by jazz 
ensembles, or by acoustic and electric guitars. Those twentieth-century pianists who have established reputations primarily as 
accompanying artists have thus concentrated their efforts on music of the eighteenth and especially the nineteenth centuries; 
of these individuals Gerald Moore is an outstanding example. 



Hinson, Maurice. Piano in Chamber Ensemble: An Annotated Guide. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978. 
. Music for More Than One Piano. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1 983 . 

. The Pianist's Guide to Transcriptions, Arrangements, and Paraphrases. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990. 

King, A.Hyatt. Mozart Chamber Music. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1969. 
. Chamber Music. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1979. 

Mason, Daniel Gregory. The Chamber Music of Brahms. 2d ed. New York: AMS Press, 1970. 

Maxwell, Grant L. "Music for Three or More Pianists: An Historical Survey and Catalogue." PhD., diss., University of Alberta, 1992. 
Moore, Gerald. The Unashamed Accompanist. London: Macmillan, 1944. Reprint. London: MacRae, 1984. 

Secrist-Schmedes. Barbera. Wind Chamber Music: Winds with Piano and Woodwind Quintets: An Annotated Guide. Lanham, Md.: 
Scarecrow Press, 1996. 

Smallman, Basil. The Piano Trio: Its History, Technique, and Repertoire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. 

. The Piano Omnia ami Quintet: Style Structure, and Scoring. New York: Oxford Uni\ersil\ Press, 1994 
Steinbeck, Wolfram. "Das Prizip der Liedbegleitung bei Schubert. " Die M usikforschung 42 (1989): 206-21. 

Stuber, Robert. "Die Klavierbegleitung im Liede von Haydn, Mozart und Beethoven. " ["Piano Accompaniment in the Songs of Haydn, 

Mozart and Beethoven"]. PhD. diss., University of Biel, 1958. 
Webster, James. "Towards a History of Viennese Chamber Music in the Early Classic Period." Journal of the American Musicological 

Society 27 (1974): 212-47. 

Wei, Sally. "American Chamber Music Duo Repertoire fwthe Intermediate to Advanced Piano Student." PhD. diss., University of Miami, 


Founded in London by Samuel Chappell (ca. 1782- 1839), Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), and Francis Tatton 
Latour, Chappell & Company has flourished as builders and sellers of pianos and also as music publishers since 1811. From 
the early days of the firm's existence it sponsored a large number of London concerts; in 1858 Chappell & Company built St. 
James's Hall in Regent Street. After Samuel Chappell's death, his widow, Emily, continued the business with their sons 
Thomas Paley Chappell (1819-1902) and Arthur. When Thomas died, William Boosey succeeded him as director. In 1929 
Chappell & Company acquired the firm of Collard & Collard. Chappell, of New Bond Street, is still a music publisher and 
dealer in London, but Chappell pianos are now manufactured by Kemble in Milton Keynes. An unusual SQUARE glass piano 
built by Chappell about 1815 is in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The tones of the instrument are produced 
by HAMMERS that strike glass rods instead of strings. 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 1 , 1 700- 1 820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 993 . 

.Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 6th ed. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Chappell." London: Macmillan, 1980. 
The New Grove Piano. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1988. 

Schott, Howard. Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Vol . 1, Keyboard Instruments. 2d ed. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1985. 
CHICKERING, JONAS (1798-1853) 


Jonas Chickering was the founder of Chickering & Sons, the largest American piano manufacturer of the nineteenth 
century. He was the first major piano builder to use a full metal PLATE in his instruments. 

Born 5 April 1798, in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, Chickering first trained as a cabinetmaker. He moved to Boston in 
February 1818 and became apprenticed to piano maker JOHN OSBORNE one year later. Osborne was himself a student of 
BENJAMIN CREHORE, a noted piano and instrument maker born in Milton, Massachusetts. Crehore greatly influenced 
what became known as the Boston School of piano makers, and his apprentices also included Lewis and 

Chickering worked with Osborne until 1 823 when he went into partnership with James Stewart. The Stewart & Chickering 
firm dissolved in 1826 when Stewart returned to England to work for COLLARD & COLLARD in London. In 1830 
Chickering went into partnership with John MacKay (1774-1841), a successful international trader and ship owner. 
MacKay's business acumen proved invaluable to the young firm, which came to be called Chickering & Company beginning 
about 1837; between 1839 and 1842 it was called Chickering & MacKays. 

The most important feature of early Chickering pianos, the full iron plate, would appear to stem from Alpheus Babcock's 
17 December 1825 PATENT for SQUARE piano. This introduced a continuous metal rim around the string band that resisted 
the tension of the STRINGS more reliably than the wooden framing used in other pianos of the time. Babcock joined 
Chickering and MacKay in 1837, the same year Chickering developed his own iron plate for squares (Patent no. 1,802, 
granted in 1840). The same principle was used by Chickering in his 1843 patent (no. 3,238) for a full iron plate for GRANDS. 
This scheme allowed heavier strings and HAMMERS to be used, thus producing a louder, fuller tone. The rigid iron frame 
also improved TUNING stability, since it did not shrink and expand with humidity changes as wood does, nor did it bend as 
readily under tension. It was some time before the full iron plate was put into general use by other piano makers, however. 
Most American manufacturers adopted the idea by the 1850s, following STEINWAY'S lead in 1853. Some European makers 
did not use full plates until the twentieth century. 

By 1841 Chickering was the leading manufacturer of pianos in America, despite the loss of his partner MacKay at sea that 
year. In 1851 Chickering & Sons, along with Meyer of Philadelphia, NUNNS & Clark and James Pirsson of New York, and 
Gilbert & Company and George Hews of Boston, became the first American piano manufacturers to exhibit in Europe (at the 
London Exhibition). 

Sales of Chickering pianos continued briskly, thanks to sturdy construction and an unrelenting promotional campaign 
begun by MacKay and surpassed only by Steinway. On 1 December 1852, the Chickering factory at 334 Washington Street in 
Boston burned to the ground. In a demonstration of the firm's success, the new plant on Tremont Street was not only the 
largest manufacturing facility in the United States, but the second-largest building, surpassed only by the U.S. Capitol. Jonas 
Chickering died 8 December 1853. His three sons, Thomas E. (1824-1871), C.Frank (1827- 1891), and George H. (1830- 
1896), ran the business until the last of them died in 1896. Chickering & Sons was sold to the 

Chickering can be said to have established the modern American piano industry, as well as having greatly influenced the 
design of the modern piano. Although Steinway eventually gained superiority, it was Chickering who led the way. 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing, 191 1. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Gill, Dominic, ed. The Book of the Piano. Ithaca, N .Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. 2d ed. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001 . 
Koster, John. Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1 994. 
Palmieri, Robert. Letter from Darcy Kuronen, Curator of Musical Instruments, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, February 2002. 
Parker, Richard G. A Tribute to the Life dud Character of',fona.\ Chickering. Boston, i 854. 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. 
New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

According to the recollections of living piano tuners who learned their craft from their father and grandfathers, the first firm 
to deal in the piano business in China was Moutrie & Company. It was a British firm in Shanghai that started business with 
the sale and maintenance of pianos and other musical instruments around 1850. Instead of shipping pianos from England, it 
turned to assembling imported parts from the home country around 1870. But no mention nor advertisements of it can be 
found in the 1874 North China Daily News, a leading English newspaper published in Shanghai from 1864 on, while in the 
first six months of 1890 the same newspaper carried advertisements of a Moutrie, Robinson & Company, for its sale of pianos 
of various types, featuring BROADWOOD CASES and iron FRAMES of different English and European makes. The 


assembling of pianos was sure to have been done by then, if not earlier. A more exact date could have been ascertained, had 
more of the archives been accessible. 

All jobs at the Moutrie workshops were at first done by English workers. Soon they took on Chinese apprentices and 
workers. It is no exaggeration to say that all the early Chinese piano tuners and repairers came from the Moutrie staff. A few 
of them quit Moutrie and started smaller enterprises of their own. The first Chinese piano store, Xiangxing Qinhang, was 
owned and run by a carpenter named Huang from Moutrie. It dealt chiefly in TUNING and repairing, and occasionally sold 
pianos assembled in the shop. 

Instead of importing every component from abroad, Moutrie began to manufacture cases and SOUNDBOARDS, order cast- 
iron frames from local foundries, and make KEYBOARDS in Shanghai. For cases Moutrie used teak and other hardwood 
from Southeast Asia, and for soundboards, wood from America. Local frames were marked with the imprint "Moutrie 
Shanghai" or "Moutrie S." But the crucial parts of the piano — ACTIONS, FELT, and STRINGS — were all imported. Up to 
serial number 10,000, Moutrie used actions made in England, but later exclusively actions made by the Canadian firm Otto 
Higel. After number 10,000, the company began to make its own actions, which were not as good. In 1910 the factory had a 
staff of more than a hundred workers and produced seventy to eighty pianos a month, mostly UPRIGHT PIANOS. It made 
several sizes of uprights, the largest of which — called the concert upright, with eighty-eight keys — was the best. Moutrie also 
made BABY GRAND and PARLOR GRAND pianos, though the quality did not match its uprights. Moutrie pianos enjoyed 
great popularity in China and were sold also to Southeast Asian countries. 

Pianos made by other minor firms, both foreign and Chinese, bearing the brands Robinson, Lazaro, Mozart, Strauss and 
Kinear, and so on, appeared in much smaller quantities. 

Moutrie closed down in the early 1950s, as did other foreign enterprises. But Chinese-owned piano businesses lingered on 
until the socialist transformation of capitalist enterprises. In 1958 the government called for a merger of all joint state -private 
piano enterprises, other Western musical-instrument makers, and other businesses associated with the piano industry, and 
founded officially a self-sufficient piano manufacturing plant, the Shanghai Piano Factory. 

Under the country's policy of self-reliance, intensive research was carried on after 1958 in the making of HAMMERS, and 
in the 1970s many of its individual processes were automated or semi-automated. "Nieer"pianos, the brand name Shanghai 
Piano Factory adopted for its products, with domestic hammers and action mechanisms, began to be produced in large 
quantities to meet the growing domestic demand, and a former brand, "Strauss," has been recently restored to use. Both 
brands are now used for uprights and baby grands. 

Concurrently with the development of piano manufacturing in Shanghai, the government decided in the latter half of the 
1950s to launch a centralized piano industry in the country with bases in Beijing (the capital), and Yingkou in the northeast, 
where timber is abundant and a new steel and iron industry was booming. Skilled master workers were transferred from 
Shanghai to the Beijing and Yingkou piano plants to lead the technological sections and to train new recruits and build a staff 
of skilled workers and technicians. Their products, "Xing Hai" (Beijing) and "Xing Fu" (Yingkou) pianos, were sold mostly 
to Southeast Asia, where they had a special appeal because of their low price and handsomely lacquered appearance. Shortly 
afterward a fourth piano factory was established in the south, again with skilled staff from Shanghai. The Pearl River brand 
pianos made by the Guangzhou Pearl River Piano Corporation are better suited for humid tropical climates. 

With the implementation of the national policy of free trade with the rest of the world, all four major piano manufacturing 
plants of the country have imported equipment and expertise from abroad. Foreign experts have been invited from England, 
Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden to share their skills, giving lectures and demonstrations, and to help with the 
work. A STEINWAY manager from London visited Shanghai and Beijing in the early 1980s. Shortly afterward the Austrian 
firm of BOSENDORFER held short-term training courses in Beijing and Guangzhou. 

China is now making pianos not only to satisfy the growing demand at home, but for export as well. Chinese pianos have 
an international market in many countries and regions in the world. Not only is the annual output of pianos in the country 
soaring, the number of piano manufacturing plants is also on the increase. There have appeared Sinoforeign joint ventures in 
other cities of China in recent years, with investors from Sweden, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and other countries. 
Pianos produced at these factories bear a great variety of brands, the more popular among which are Kawai (Beijing), Yamaha 
(Guangzhou), Young Chang (Tianjin), Nordiska (Yingkou), and Moutrie and Strauss (Shanghai). 



Chen Qian. "Xi-yue-qi de chuan-ru he zai-wo-guo de fa-zhan" [The Introduction of Western Instruments to China and Their Development 

in China]. Yue Qi [Musical Instruments] 4 (August 1985): 28-9. 
History of the Shanghai Piano Company ( unpublished). 

Lao Chang. "Foreign Help Boosts Piano Trade." China Daily (3 March 1991); 2. 


North, China Daily News. 1874 (January to December) and 1890 (January to June). 

Chipping refers to the initial TUNING of a newly strung piano. After the STRINGS are installed, but before the ACTION 
is in place, the technician plucks each string with a wedge of wood or similar material, adjusting its PITCH with a 
TUNING HAMMER. The strings are thus brought roughly up to pitch (middle A vibrating 440 times per second). The piano 
may require two or three such tunings before the action is put into place and regulated. Following this, the piano is tuned 
normally several more times. 



The chirogymnaste is a device invented by Casimir Martin in 1841 (French PATENT 1,842). Martin, a French piano 
maker, described the chirogymnaste as a "hand-director mechanism." Its aim was to extend the compass of the hand and to 
develop equal strength in the fingers. An improved version of the elurogrnuuiste was introduced by Martin in 1844. It 
consisted of a wooden board with fastened rings for the fingers. Adjustable springs made it more or less difficult to press the 
fingers down. On the same board there was also a knob upon which to rest the hand (in order to correct its position), a screw 
to forcefully widen the distance between the fingers, an adjustable bridge with rollers bending the fingers backwards, and so 

The chirogymnaste was preceded by several similar devices such as the dactylion by Henri Herz (1836) and the chiroplast 
by Johann Bernhard Logier (1814). The dactylion consisted of a rail that was placed upon the front of the piano. Ten 
adjustable springs carrying brass wires, ending in rings for the fingers, were attached to the rail. The aim of the dactylion was 
to strengthen the fingers. 

The chiroplast consisted of two parallel rails that prevented vertical wrist movements as well as thumb crossing. In 1 820 
Peter Hawkes invented a similar device, a handmold that was buckled to the wrists. The mold then slid along a supporting rod. 

A device to exercise the third finger was proposed by William Prangley in 1856. Jacob Stolz made a Doppel-Handleiter for 
the same purpose (ca. 1860), as did William Hamilton with his "radial hand-guide" (1865) and Myer Marks with his 
digitorium (1866). In 1891 Gustave Lyon, of the PLEYEL firm in Paris, devised a digito-egaliseur and durcisseur. 

Due to justifiable criticism, all these devices fell into disuse by the beginning of the twentieth century. 

See also Keyboard Practice and Exercise Aids 



Logier, Johann. An Explanation and Description of the Royal Patent Chiroplast or Hand-Director. London: Clementi & Co., 1816. 
Mahillon, Vielor-Charles. Catalogue deseriptifet analvtique an Musee Instrumental dn Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Bruxelles. Vol. 
1. Gand: Hoste, 1893. 

Fryderyk Franciszek (Frederic Francois) Chopin, a Polish-born pianist and composer of Polish and French parentage, was 
born in Zelazowa Wola, near Warsaw, on 1 March 1810, and died in Paris on 17 October 1849. He displayed pianistic and 
compositional precocity as a child, studying piano with Wojciech Zywny (whose primary instrument was the violin) until his 
teacher felt he had nothing more to contribute. At nineteen, upon completion of a three-year course in composition with Josef 
Eisner at the Warsaw School of Music and Art, Chopin traveled to Vienna, going there again — with more specific 
professional aspirations — a year later. The second time he continued on to Paris, where he lived most of his adult life, 
supporting himself primarily by teaching and composition, performing only occasionally. Chopin's music has become 
virtually synonymous with the piano and its capabilities, and he is perhaps the only one of the legions of pianist-composers 
associated with Paris in the middle fifty years of the nineteenth century whose music has remained consistently popular since 
its first appearance, enduring no period of disfavor with concert artists or amateurs. 

During his first Vienna trip, he preferred GRAF pianos to those of STEIN (letter of 8 August 1829), and it was a Graf that 
he played in two concerts at the Karntnerthor theater; in Warsaw, he played a STREICHER that the audience, at least, 
appreciated (letter of 12 October 1830). In Paris, Chopin's preferred instrument was a PLEYEL (which he nevertheless called 
a "perfidious traitor"), an instrument so sensitive that the pianist's slightest imperfection could be plainly heard; he 
acknowledged finding ERARD pianos easier to play when he was not in full command. His student Emilie Gretsch quoted 
him on the subject of the Erard: "You can thump it and bash it, it makes no difference: the sound is always beautiful and the 
ear doesn't ask for anything more since it hears a full, resonant tone." By contrast, Chopin preferred the Pleyel "when I feel in 
good form and strong enough to find my own individual sound." 

The design and capabilities of the Pleyel were perfectly suited to Chopin's needs and pianistic approach. As Robert 
Winter's research has shown, the Pleyel's action was of the single-ESCAPEMENT English GRAND variety, with regulation 


geared toward light fall-weight and as little AFTERTOUCH as possible. The HAMMERS — made either entirely of FELT or 
at least having a felt core — were relatively light in terms of mass, especially in the treble register, where the hammer was 
shaped so that it met the STRING at a point rather than along a curve. Like BROADWOODS, Pleyels had regularized 
STRIKE-POINT ratios, but the upper two octaves remained substantially different: while the bass and tenor approximate a 
ninth, and the alto and soprano up to g 2 evolve to an eighth, the remaining treble range moves from a ninth through a tenth 
and eleventh to a thirteenth at g 4 . The combined characteristics of the hammers and strike points produced an intimate sound, 
ideal for Chopin's melodies and consistent with contemporaries' descriptions of his playing, but wholly lacking in modern 
instruments. CLAUDE MONTAL, a contemporary French piano technician, said the Pleyel produced a "sound that is pure, 
clear, even, and intense; the carefully made up hammers — very hard in the middle, then covered with a soft and elastic skin — 
bring out in piano playing a soft and velvety tone, gaining in brightness and volume with stronger pressure on the keyboard." 

With its single-escapement, light hammers, and light fall-weight, the touch of the Pleyel was far lighter than that of 
contemporary Erards and closer to such VIENNESE PIANOS as the Graf. Montal went so far as to say that Pleyel had 
achieved a "facility, an evenness and a rapidity of repeated notes" previously thought to be unattainable by pianists and even 
piano manufacturers. Chopin's student Wilhelm von Lenz felt that Pleyel pianos had the lightest touch of the French makes, 
responding much more easily than his Erard. Clearly, this conquest of KEYBOARD stiffness was ideally suited to both the 
energy level and the refined aesthetic of Chopin, whose physical constitution had never been robust. 

Chopin's exploitation of the Pleyel's resources is apparent in his music. Passages that might seem interpretively 
problematic on a modern piano would have sounded quite different on the Pleyel, which had pronounced differences between 
its registers and was thus tonally far less homogeneous. Winter cites the coda to the Nocturne in D-flat Major, op. 27, no. 2, as 
an example: On a Pleyel the difference in character of sound between the high treble of the grace notes and the lower 
principal notes enable this passage to produce a far different and much more characteristic effect than the same passage 
played on a modern instrument. Similarly, a wispier high end would not, as on a modern instrument, cover a primary train of 
musical thought proceeding in the tenor range, as for instance in the Etude, op. 25, no. 11 ("Winter Wind"; not Chopin's 
title). The recording of this piece by Raoul [Raul] Koczalski, who studied with Chopin's student Karol Mi kuli and is a clear 
heir to the tradition, maintains some of the original balance. The piece is more a rhythmically vibrant but controlled march, 
with a constantly glistening background of chromatic tracery, rather than the customary furious northern gale. 

Intimately bound up with the question of registers is another area of pianism in which Chopin was an acknowledged master: 
the use of the PEDALS. Chopin's pedal usage was, paradoxically, both frequent and economical, and it seems that there was 
no conflict between the many veiled sonorities the pedals could provide and maintaining clarity in quickly modulating 
passages or the integrity of declamation and melodic articulation. Neither the una corda nor the sustain pedal was used as a 
crutch, but rather — both separately and simultaneously — in the service of timbre and sonority. Jan Kleczyhski, who studied 
with several Chopin students and heard him in Paris, observed that Chopin "frequently passed, and without transition, from 
the open to the soft pedal, especially in enharmonic modulation. These passages had an altogether particular charm, especially 
when played on Pleyel pianofortes." The Pleyel itself doubtless played a major role here; Antoine Francois Marmontel 
commented that "the timbre produced by the pedals on Pleyel pianos has a perfect sonority and the dampers work with a 
precision very useful for chromatic and modulation passages; this quality is precious and absolutely indispensable." In 
addition to the precise pedal and DAMPER mechanisms, the Pleyel's unique registral makeup enabled its various ranges not 
to muddle each other. Montal noted Pleyel's "veneering the pine boards with mahogany across the grain of the pine," and that 
while the sound was not thereby made louder, it "acquired instead a particularly satisfying quality, the upper register 
becoming bright and silvery, the middle one accentuated and penetrating, and the lower clear and vigorous." Taken together, 
the Pleyel' s responsive keyboard action, precise pedal system, mellower tone, and the variety of tone between its registers 
enabled Chopin to produce a variety of effects that seem to have been largely unavailable to his contemporaries, and are all 
but impossible today. It is extremely unlikely that the thick overpedaled sonority that often results from a literal reading of his 
dynamic and pedal indications on today's instruments would have been his intention. 

Chopin's interest in the vocal aesthetic ("It is necessary to sing with the fingers!") resulted in a fully developed cantabile 
style of interpretation, not just a "singing tone," which pianists today are still constantly enjoined to produce. One aspect of 
the cantabile style was Chopin's celebrated rubato, which (in one of its varieties) embodied the complete rhythmic 
independence of the melody and accompaniment, which would relate to each other much as would an opera singer and 
orchestral accompaniment. Another is the "mezza voce" indication (Ballade no. 4 and elsewhere), where the pianist was asked 
to approximate the specific timbre of one of several "voices" the bel canto singer was expected to produce. Other ways in 
which Chopin evoked the vocal aesthetic included his phrasing and "breathing" with the wrist, and his varieties of tone and 

As his meticulous notation indicates, his repertoire of TOUCHES was undoubtedly far greater than those used today. In 
addition to his celebrated legato and staccato there seem to have been several different gradations of portato; his scores have, 
besides passages with no specific given articulation, both staccato dots under legato slurs (e.g., Nocturne in B-flat minor, op. 
9, no.l) and accent wedges under legato slurs (Nocturne in G minor, op. 37, no.l). It is probable that the caressing touch, 


associated in particular with the Parisian school and linked specifically to Chopin by several different sources, enabled him 
and other pianists to achieve the speechlike varieties of articulation for which he was widely admired, and it likewise seems 
clear that the keyboard and pedal mechanisms of the Pleyel in particular were ideal for producing those effects. 

This approach to articulation, vocalism at the keyboard, and a subdued rather than extroverted aesthetic link Chopin to an 
older, largely French school of pianism of Louis Adam and his student Frederic Kalkbrenner, Pierre Zimmerman, and 
Chopin's fellow Pole Antoine Kontski [Anton Katsky]. The use of long-overshort fingerings (i.e., fourth finger over fifth, and 
third over fourth or fifth) in certain circumstances, advocated by both Chopin and Johann Nepomuk Hummel, is also found in 
some of the Parisian-school treatises (such as that of Kalkbrenner). This school was to decline and disappear not long after 
Chopin's death, largely in response to the more athletic virtuosi who studied with Franz Liszt and Adolf von Henselt, and 
were being produced by the waxing Russian conservatories. The compositions of most of Chopin's contemporaries, and of 
those who came after him, do not seem to reflect the same interest in subtleties of articulation and timbre. 

In sum, Chopin's music depends upon delicate balances of dynamics, registers, touches, and pedal effects, and these 
nuances are too often overlooked because of the sheer attractiveness of Chopin's melodic writing, keyboard figuration, and 
harmonic deployments. That his works, despite today 's radically different interpretive style, remain as popular as they were when 
they first appeared places them among first-rank artworks and testifies to their multidimensional appeal. Until more pianists 
take the historical considerations into account in their approaches to these works, however, some of Chopin's intended effects 
will remain obscure. 



Bellman, Jonathan. "Chopin and the Cantabile Style." Historical Performance 2, no. 2 (Winter 1989): 63-7 1 . 

."Frederic Chopin, Antoine de Kontski, and the Carezzando Touch." Early Music 29, no. 3 (August 2001): 399- 407. 

Chopin, Frederic. Esquisses pour une methode de piano [Sketches for a piano method]. Edited by Jean-Jacques Eigeldinger. Paris: 
Flammarion, 1993. In French. 

Eigeldinger, Jean- Jacques. Chopin: Pianist and Teacher [ 1 970] Edited by Roy Howat. Translated by Naomi Shohet with Krysia Osostowicz 

and Roy Howat. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986. 
."Chopin and Pleyel." Early Music 29, no. 3 (August 2001): 389-96. 

Montal, Claude. L 'art d'accorder soi-meme le piano [1836]. Geneva: Minkoff Reprint: 1976. In French. 

Rosenblum, Sandra P. "Some Enigmas of Chopin's Pedal Indications: What Do the Sources Tell Us?" The Journal of Musicological 

Research 16, no. 1 (November 1996): 41-61. 
Samson, Jim. Chopin. New York: Schirmer, 1997. 

Winter, Robert. "The 19th Century: Keyboards." Performance Practice: Music after 1600. Edited by Howard Mayer Brown and Stanley 
Sadie. New York: W.W.Norton & Company, 1989. 

Cimbalom is a Greek word designating a box zither of a type used in Hungary, but, in fact, related to the smaller versions 
of the German Hackbrett and Anglo-American dulcimer. During the Middle Ages the word cimbalom indicated several sorts 
of percussion instruments. It is not known with certainty when the word came to refer to the Hungarian instrument. One can 
distinguish two versions: the smaller, or kiscimbalom, and the larger ornagy cimbalom. About 1870 Jozsef Schunda 
(Budapest) gave the cimbalom a standard size and design, that of the pedalcimbalom: four legs, PEDAL, DAMPERS, and full 
chromatic range. Nowadays it is still used in folk music in Hungary (mainly by Gypsies). Related instruments can be found in 
Rumania (tambal), Greece (tsimbalo), Poland (cymbaly), Ukraine (tsymbaly), and Latvia (cimbole). 



rosi. Balinl. Die I ns. Lcipz: Dcul her Vcrlag fur .Vlusik, l%6. 


Frederic Horace Clark, American pianist, pedagogue, inventor, philosopher, theologian, and physiologist, was, according to 
Rudolf Breithaupt's Handbuch der moderncn Mclliodik mid Snielpraxis (1912), the first scholar to discuss and graphically 
illustrate the rolling movement of arm and wrist, in his Lehre des einhcillichcn Kunslmillels hcim KhivicrsjiicI ( [ The Doctrine 
of Unified Art of Piano Playing] 1885). This makes him the world pioneer in the physiological approach to piano playing. His 
Harmonie-Piano, built with two parallel KEYBOARDS with the pianist standing between them to play it, was an attempt to 
substantiate his intricate and highly speculative philosophic system in which religious (Christian) hierarchy and doctrine 
become a model for the coordination between internal and external parameters of artistic performance. 


Fig. 28. Frederic Horace Clark at the keyboards of his Harmonie-Piano. 

Clark was born near Chicago, and was essentially self-taught in piano playing until 1876, when he sailed to Germany. He 
proceeded on foot to Italy, just to see his idol, FRANZ LISZT. Clark allegedly spent some time with Liszt, and this 
experience was described in his book, Liszts Offenbarung ([Liszt's Revelation] 1907). Clark then studied with Dr. Oscar Paul 
(author of a book on piano history) and later with Ludwig Deppe, in the interim returning for a while to the United States. In 
1882 he married Anna Steiniger (1848-1890), a prominent Prussian pianist, who was probably the strongest exponent of 
Deppe's teaching method and was also Deppe's assistant. Clark and his wife arrived in Boston in 1885 but failed to arouse 
interest in their newly developed piano school. After his wife's death, Clark apparently moved to Valparaiso, Indiana, and by 
1903 was again in Berlin. Always under extreme hardship and poverty, and rejected by the professors at the Berlin University 
as well, Clark spent his last years in Zurich. There he worked incessantly on his writing projects, dying before they were 

Clark' s writings reveal a person of intense intellect, almost fanatical beliefs, and relentless drive. Wanting to persuade 
everyone to turn to his ideas on the true artistic spirit and its manifestations as a mirror of divine activity, he seems to have 
quite freely interpreted his conversations with Franz Liszt and JOHANNES BRAHMS, if they occurred at all. He even states 
that Brahms was the first one to experiment and build models of the Harmonie-Piano. To this day no existing proof of his 
claim to an intimate friendship with the two musicians has been discovered. However, he describes in detail Liszt's playing, 
observing with much more analytical and comprehending eyes than Amy Fay, who wrote a book that also deals partly with 
Liszt's teaching (Music Study in Germany [1880]). He seems to be among the first to understand the change in piano technique 
introduced by Liszt. Building on it, and acknowledging Liszt as a source and Hermann Helmholtz as an impetus, Clark, in his 
Lehre, tried to employ the pianist's body as a unit. 


Clark's Harmonie-Piano, developed by 1913, bears the Royal German Patent no. 225, 367. It consists of two parallel 
keyboards, elevated to shoulder level, with a forty-five degree inclination. The pianist stood between them with outstretched 
arms, thus eliminating all angles and establishing a general basis from fingertips to the solar plexus, through arms, shoulders, 
and spine. (See illustration.) Recreating with this "Cherubim-doctrine" the old Greek principle of the "goldenmean," Clark 
thought that through this posture he had blended all extensors and flexors into one unbroken vortexlike motion. Under the keys 
there were springs to preserve the original key resistance in this inclination. Caps (faces) of the KEYS were slightly curved 
(concave), to allow the fingers to cling better. This position actually makes the thumb play more with its flat side, and 
certainly puts it closer and more even in respect to the other fingers. The pianist moved between the keyboards and there were 
several pairs of PEDALS that he could step on as he moved to and fro. 

Clark apparently had a tendency to bend historical truth slightly, in order to prove his point and draw on authorities. 
Perhaps this could be justified by the amount of criticism and rejection he himself received. However, in the memory of his 
contemporaries he remained an extremely honest, direct, naive, and childlike person, full of intense emotions, always 
somewhat detached from everyday life. Trying to systematize his approach and find a natural, logical, and unimpeded manner 
of playing, he assigned a specific meaning and place for each element in the material and ideal universe. His tendency toward 
absolute harmony with the surrounding world seems to have projected from his high social awareness. He was convinced that 
he had the means to teach humanity how to coexist better, how to understand nature, and how to bring art closer to the human 
soul. His renaissance approach, with a philosophy of total liberation of man's inner potential and its amalgamation with 
higher natural laws, is as much archaic as it is progressive in its message. Clark provided a significant link between the age of 
instinctive performance and the age of the scientific study of all parmeters of playing. 



Andres, Robert. "Frederic Horace Clark: A Forgotten Innovator." Journal of ihe American Liszt Society 27 (Januan -June 1990): 3-16. 
Breithaupt, Rudolf. VI. Die natiirliche Klavieriechiuk. Leipzig: C.F Rahul Nachlblgcr, 1 912. 

. llandhnch tier inodernen Methodik nnd Spiclpraxis. 3d ed. 19 12 
Clark, Frederic H. Liszts Offenbarung. Berlin: C.F.Vieweg, 1907. 
. Pianistenharmonie. Berlin: n.p., 1910. 

. Bra/mr. 'Nohlcssc. Zurich: I'ianistcn-harmoniepresse, 1914. 
Clark-Steiniger, Frederic H. Iphigenia, Baroness ofStyne. London: Pure Music Society, private ed., 1896. 

. Die Lelire des l iidieitlichc n Kmislinillel.s heim klovicrspiel. Berlin: Raabe & Plothow, 1885. 
Cobb, John S.Anna Steiniger. Boston: G.Schirmer, 1886. 

Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Edited by Friedrich Blume. 15 vols. S.v. "Clark, Frederic Horace." Kassel and Basel, 1949-1973. 
Fay, Amy. Music Study in Germany. Chicago: Jansen, McClurg, 1880. 

Helmholtz, Hermann. "The Action of Arm Muscles." Niederrh. Gesellsch. Fur Heilkunde. 10 December 1857. 

The influence of the clavichord on the piano can be considered in four categories: 

(1) The term "clavier" was applied at first to both instruments. 

(2) Certain traits of sound generation are common to both instruments. 

(3) Some characteristics of construction are common to both instruments. 

(4) Piano playing TECHNIQUE originated from clavichord playing technique. 

In early eighteenth-century German, the term "clavier" included organ, harpsichord, and clavichord, but later applied only to 
the clavichord. The term's usage is sometimes very confusing. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH used the term both for any 
KEYBOARD instrument (as in "The Well-Tempered Clavier") and for the keyboards of organ and harpsichord (see the 
introduction to the Goldberg Variations). When the "gravecembalo col piano e forte" was invented by 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, the term "clavier" was used for it as well. Cristofori had tried to develop an instrument that 
had the volume and the fullness of TONE of the harpsichord while also generating the differentiated tones of the clavichord. 

The clavichord is a string instrument that uses a very simple ACTION to make the STRINGS oscillate. A tangent attached 
to the rear end of every key is in direct contact with the string. This tangent, a small metal plate approximately 1 to 1 .5 centimeters 
long protruding from the end of the KEY, is pressed against the string. The sound produced in this way is very soft, but can 
easily be modulated because the player can control it directly. 

Whereas the clavichord' s tone is produced by pressing the tangent against the string, a HAMMER striking the string 
produces the fortepiano's sound (as the instrument was called in its early phase). The part of the clavichord string that 
oscillates is between the point where the tangent touches the string and the fret that transmits the vibrations to the 


SOUNDBOARD. This means that the tangent's position determines the PITCH. The shorter part of the string on the other 
side of the tangent is damped by a piece of FELT. The crucial common characteristic of the two instruments is the player's 
ability to influence the tone's volume and its quality by TOUCH. Pressing the tangent against the string produces a very soft 
sound, between p and ppp, which can be varied after the key is struck. Applying more or less pressure produces a kind of 
vibrato. In contrast, the piano's tone remains unchanged and cannot be influenced after the key is struck; however, the tone's 
volume and quality can be modified up to the time that the hammer strikes the string. 

Although significant outward construction characteristics of the harpsichord were applied to the early piano, for instance, 
the wing shape (FLUGEL) and the lengthwise arrangement of the strings, many outward characteristics of the clavichord 
were applied to the SQUARE PIANO. CHRISTIAN ERNST FRIEDERICI was thought to have invented the square piano 
until a square by Johann Socher, signed in 1742, was found. The square piano is rectangular, like the clavichord. Its CASE is 
a little larger than that of the late clavichords that were common during the time the piano was invented and developed. 
Clavichords made by leading producers, for example, Johann Heinrich Silbermann, Hironymus Albrecht Hass, or Christian 
Gottlob Hubert, are up to 150 cm wide, approximately 45 cm long, and up to 14.5 cm high. The square pianos of this time 
were about 170 cm wide, 55 cm long, and 19 cm high. The arrangement of the strings is identical in the clavichord and the 
square piano: parallel to the keyboard. This means that the point where the string is touched is in a different position on every 
string, whereas it is in the same position in harpsichords and GRAND PIANOS. The position of this point does influence the 
character of the tone, if only in a minor way. More important is the influence of generating a sound by striking two strings tuned 
identically. The two or more strings of the clavichord or the piano are struck simultaneously and sound the same, while the 
harpsichord's strings tuned to the same pitch produce different timbres. This action is closest to that of the unfretted 
clavichord. In contrast, the fretted clavichord uses one string to produce several tones, even though it is double-coursed. In 
1753 CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH published his essay Versuch iiber die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, wherein he 
applies some significant characteristics of clavichord playing technique to the fortepiano. The essay describes the musical and 
aesthetic views of its time. It has the following consequences for fortepiano playing technique: the clavichord key is struck 
only by a bent finger that touches the key before striking it. This produces a more or less perfect legato. The same hand 
position also produces a satisfactory legato on the early pianoforte. Another important common characteristic of clavichord 
and piano playing techniques at this time is the use of "light" and "heavy" fingers. Many sixteenth-century to eighteenth- 
century textbooks for keyboard instruments provide FINGERING that indicates which fingers were preferred and which ones 
were not used at all. Used on the organ and the harpsichord, this type of fingering creates a similar kind of melodic form as on 
the clavichord or the piano, but only on the two latter instruments are subtle phrasings possible that can sound loud-soft. This 
perfection of dynamic differentiation and the legato playing technique are the most important characteristics of clavichord 
playing technique that were taken over by the piano. 

Translated by SANDRA LUSTIG 


Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel. Versuch iiber die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen, mil Exempeln and achizelm Prohestiieken in seeks Sonaten 

erldutert. 2 parts. Berlin, 1753 and 1762. English ed. London and New York: W.J.Mitchell, 1949. 
Couperin, Francois. L 'Art de toucher le clavecin. Paris, 1717. Reprint. Wiesbaden, 1961 . 
Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. 

Haase, Gesine. "Clavichorde, Hammerklaviere." In Tasteninstrumente. Edited by Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung Berlin. Berlin, 

Neupert, Hanns. Das Klavichord. Kassel: Barenreiter, 1948. Reprint. 1965. 

Santa Maria, Tomas de. Arte de taner fantasia. Valladolid. 1565. Reprint. 1972. Reprint. Latin American Literary Review, 1992. 
Sumner, William Leslie. The Pianoforte. London: Macdonald and Co., 1966. 




The cledi-harmonique was a piano invented by Jean Louis Boisselot of Marseille and shown at the Paris Exhibition of 1839. 
He obtained two perfectly unisontuned STRINGS by looping one string on a HITCH PIN. The advantages were precise 
unison, half the required TUNING time, and half the number of TUNING PINS needed. 

This idea had already been applied at the end of the eighteenth century by PASCAL TASKIN with his crochet d'accord. 
Also, previous to Boisselot, the Paris-based firm of PLEYEL patented a similar idea in 1826. 




Description des Machines et Proctitis specifies dans les Brevets d'Inventions, de Perfectionnement et d 'Importation dont la Duree est 
expiree. Paris: no publisher named, 1811-1863. 

Muzio Clementi (1752-1832) was born in Rome and at age fifteen moved to England, where he lived and worked until his 
death at the age of eighty. Well known and honored during his lifetime as a composer, pianist, teacher, music publisher, and 
piano manufacturer, Clementi exerted considerable influence on musicians of his generation, most notably BEETHOVEN. 
His lasting contribution was to the field of KEYBOARD music, where his major works are Gradusud Parnassian, published 
in three volumes (1817, 1819, 1826); and Introduction to the Art of Playing on the Pianoforte (1801). 

In addition to his prominence as a musician, Clementi was also an entrepreneur, a surprising designation to those not aware 
of his extramusical achievements. In fact, his shrewd business dealings secured for his commercial enterprise a firm base for 
his piano division and numerous important publishing rights. Clementi was on friendly terms with every major composer and 
performer of his time, although his attention was invariably centered on whatever business opportunities these friendships 
might offer. In regard to dementi's shrewd business sense, Leon Plantinga points out that to dementi's admirers on the 
Continent his gradual conversion from art to business seemed like a degrad ing capitulation to materialism, yet in higher 
English society it would have been seen as a step toward respectability. 

During the last decade of the eighteenth century, Clementi was sufficiently affluent, through investments in publishing and 
instrument building, to be able to buy the bankrupt firm of LONGMAN & BRODERIP, in which he had previously held a 
stake. The new firm, during several joint ownerships, became known as Clementi & Company, where music publishing and 
piano manufacturing existed under the same name. Together with his craftsman-partner, Frederick William Collard, Clementi 
formed an organization that would compete with the established English piano maker, BROAD WOOD & SONS. 

dementi's artistic sense and technical ability as a performer led him to construct pianos of lighter TOUCH, akin to the 
continental Viennese action (PRELLMECHANIK) instruments, unlike those of Broadwood, which had the heavier 
ENGLISH ACTION. Clementi & Company produced SQUARE PIANOS, similar to those of Long-man & Broaderip, having 
a range of five-and-a-half octaves, with no hand stops or pedals. By 1810 the firm was producing pianos with a six-octave 
compass employing a damper PEDAL. From 1824 to 1832 the company manufactured CABINET PIANOFORTES, 
UPRIGHT GRAND pianofortes, and horizontal grand pianofortes, the last having a range of six-and-a half octaves. 
W.J.G.Ord-Hume writes that during the years 1820 to 1825 Clementi also produced mechanical pianos, large upright 
instruments called "Self-Acting Pianofortes," or, more specifically, "Clock Work BARREL PIANOS." The latter contained a 
pinned barrel, or cylinder, that, when wound, was capable of playing for half an hour without rewinding. This, combined with 
normal playing on the KEYBOARD, produced surprising effects. 

Clementi left matters of design and innovation to others in his company; however, he took an interest in choosing the 
WIRES used in STRINGING his pianos. Rosamond E.M.Harding lists nearly a dozen PATENTS granted to F.W.Collard and 
James Stewart, dementi's chief associates; however, Plantinga notes that only six patents were taken out during dementi's 
lifetime "under the names of his business partners." From this information one can assume that additional patents were 
granted the pair either before or after their association with Clementi (Stewart was also a partner of JONAS CHICKERING'S 
in Boston). 

In addition to minor improvements in piano hinges, CHECKS, and HAMMERS, Collard and Stewart's most important 
patents under the employ of Clementi are as follows: in 1821 Collard patented the "Harmonic Swell," also called "Bridge of 
Reverberation," whereby the construction of two BRIDGES allowed extra undamped strings to produce rich and powerful 
sympathetic vibrations, thus increasing the clarity of the piano sound; in 1 827 Stewart patented a stringing method — used to 
this day — whereby one continuous length of wire was looped around a HITCH PIN and attached to two wrest (TUNING) 
PINS, thereby creating two parallel union strings. 

As his popularity as a teacher grew, Clementi attracted many of the best talents of his time. Among pianist-composers who 
studied with Clementi, and who themselves went on to enjoy major careers, were Johann Baptist Cramer and John Field. 
(Friedrich Kalkbrenner is often included but must be considered a disciple, as no record of formal study with Clementi 
exists.) It was dementi's habit to use his students to demonstrate the quality of his pianos to prospective buyers. During his 
extended sojourn to the Continent between 1 802 and 1 8 10, a journey designed primarily to cultivate European markets for his 
company's products, Cramer and Field were taken along to perform on dementi's pianos. The itinerary included the cities of 
Paris, Vienna, Berlin, Prague, Zurich, Rome, and Saint Petersburg. Concurrently, Field was able to enhance his own stature as 
a performer, especially in Moscow and Saint Petersburg. 

Among pianists who spoke highly of dementi's pianos was Ignaz Moscheles. Moscheles, who kept a diary throughout his 
career, wrote of his preference for dementi's more supple mechanism to the heaviness of touch of the Broadwood piano — 
although he admired the latter' s fullness and resonance of tone. Moscheles remained a devotee of the Clementi piano for 
many years, notably during much of the period when the firm of ERARD was attempting to lure the pianist into committing 


himself solely to its own instrument. However, unlike Clementi & Company, the Erard firm continued to improve its pianos 
at a rapid rate, attempting to combine the best qualities of both the Viennese and English actions. As a result of Erard' s 
development of the double ESCAPEMENT, or "repetition action" — which appealed to Moscheles's fondness for easily executed 
repeated notes — together with the firm's success in refining and enriching its piano sonority, the pianist chose to perform as a 
matter of course on Erard' s instrument. 

In addition to publishing new works of his own and those of Daniel Steibelt, Kalkbrenner, and other pianist-composers of his 
time, dementi's resolve to publish the works of Beethoven was ultimately realized. His well-documented encounter with the 
Viennese master in 1807 secured for his publishing unit the British rights to a quantity of Beethoven's music. Included were 
the String Quartets: op. 59, no. 1, in F Major; op. 59, no. 2, in E Minor; op. 59, no. 3, in C Major; and op. 74 in E-Flat Major. 
Also included were the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, op. 73; the Symphony No. 4, op. 60; the Fantasy for Piano, Chorus, 
and Orchestra, op. 80; the Piano Sonata, op. 81a; and the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, op. 61, along with its 
arrangement as a piano concerto. 

"Father of the Pianoforte" was the title, with variants, given to Clementi during his lifetime. Indeed, his close association 
with the instrument as a composer and publisher of piano music, and as a piano manufacturer, lends truth to the description. In 
his role as composer, he is remembered today primarily for his sonatinas, an unfortunate circumstance since his many sonatas 
— of which there are over sixty — are artistically more substantial in scope, ranging in style from the pre-Classical galant to the 
dramatic, dynamic style of Beethoven. There are few performers today who include a Clementi sonata in their concert 
repertoires; there are even fewer who have discovered the wealth of appealing material to be found in the original Gradus and 
Parnassum (referring to the complete edition of 100 pieces, not the truncated version edited by Carl Tausig, which contains 
only the piano exercises). If he had not been overshadowed by his more celebrated contemporaries, Haydn, Mozart, and 
Beethoven, it would be interesting to speculate as to dementi's present position in history. But regardless, as a teacher, 
composer, and mentor, dementi's influence was felt throughout the pianistic world for many decades after his death. 



Clementi, Muzio. Gradus ad Parnassum. Leipzig: C.F.Peters, 1817, 1819, 1826. 
Colt, C.F. The Early Piano. London: Stainer & Bell, 1981. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d. ed.: Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Music Publishing in the British Isles. Edited by Charles Humphries and William C.Smith. London: Cassell and Co., 1954. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 6th ed. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Clementi" (Volume 4). London: Macmillan, 

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola: The History of the Self-Playing Piano. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
Plantinga, Leon. Clementi: His Life and Music. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977. 

The Science of Music in Britain, 1 714-1830: A Catalogue of Writings, Lectures and Inventions. Edited by Jamie Croy Kassler. New York: 
Garland Publishing, 1979. 

Shedlock, J.S. The Pianoforte Sonata: Its Origin and Development. London: Methuen, 1895. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1964. 
'I \ son. Allen. Thcimirw Catalogue of the Works of Muzio Clam- enti. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1967. 
Wainwright, David. The Piano Makers. London: Hutchinson, 1975. 
CLUTSAM, FERDINAND (fl. ca. 1900) 

Ferdinand Clutsam was one of a number of inventors who devised concave KEYBOARDS. Clutsam received German 
PATENT Number 211,650 on 21 July 1907, for his innovation. Of the inventor himself, other than his Australian origin, no 
facts can be ascertained (ALFRED DOLGE even spelled his name Cludsam). The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna 
possesses a BOSEN-DORFER GRAND of 1895 equipped in 1910 with a Clutsam keyboard (Inventory no. 434 [9194]). 

See also Keyboards 



Cocked-hat grands were a type of horizontal piano, designed and produced mainly by CHICKERING & Sons. The form is 
reminiscent, whether or not the Chickerings knew it, of the bentside spinet, an eighteenth-century type of harpsichord, and 
perhaps of the small late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century horizontal piano the Germans called QUERFLUGEL. The 
nickname, of unknown origin, come from the shape of the instrument as seen from directly above; the dickering company 
called it a PARLOR GRAND. The instrument differs from a normal grand in having an acute angle, approximately forty-five 
degrees, between KEYBOARD and SPINE. The STRINGS run at the same acute angle as the spine, obliquely toward the 
right from the keyboard. HAMMERS must therefore be attached at an angle to their shanks. 


A few magazine references in 1854-1855 suggest that JONAS CHICKERING himself designed the piano very shortly 
before his death in 1853. The company produced about four hundred of them from 1854 to 1863, when production stopped, 
1856 being the year of greatest production, just over one hundred. SERIAL NUMBERS range between 15,405 (a lost number 
book forbids certainty about any made before that) and 24,072. The MATHUSHEK firm in New Haven, Connecticut, also 
made an unknown number. 

The cocked-hat grand was intended to take a place midway between the SQUARE and the GRAND. Its length is about 
seventy-six inches, almost exactly the width of Chickering squares at the time, but it contained a grand ACTION, often that 
designed by Edwin Brown. A major advantage was that the piano could be placed against a wall quite close to a corner, 
requiring less floor space than a normal grand, and TUNING PINS at the front made it much easier to tune than a large square. 



Automatic pianos that were intended to be used in public places as a means of entertainment were normally set in play by 
the use of a coin or game token. These were called coin-operated or, occasionally, coin-freed pianos. 

The coin-operated piano became a useful means of earning additional money for the keepers of bars, restaurants, clubs, and 
dancehalls, and was made possible by the introduction of instruments powered by clock-work spring motors and later by 
electricity, first provided from wet-cell accumulators and later from the public electricity supply. 

The coin mechanism was of the sort devised for gaming machines, and makers sought similar protective devices to obviate 
the use of counterfeit coins or slugs. 

While the first instruments of this type were of the barrel-playing keyboardless piano type and later 
BARREL PIANO ORCHESTRIONS, the coin-operated piano came into its own with the dual perfection of perforated paper 
music (often in the form of multitune endless bands) and the independence offered by improved public electricity supply. 
There were many makers, and in America vast numbers of instruments were made in the major centers of New York, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Chicago. 

In Europe, German makers such as LUDWIG HUPFELD produced prodigious numbers of such instruments for public 
places including restaurants and bars. Hupfeld was the first to produce a remote coin-box, which could be placed on a bar 
wall or table, thus enabling diners to select music and operate the piano from a distance. This feature was soon taken up by 
the leading American makers. The coin-operated piano was ousted by the jukebox, of which it was undoubtedly a progenitor. 



Bow ers. 0 David. Eik vclopedhi of . lutoinatic Musiail Instalments. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1972. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola-History & Development... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
Roehl, Harvey. Player Piano Treasury. New York: Vestal Press, 1961 and 1973. 

Among English piano manufacturers this London firm, which continued CLEMENTI'S company, was second only to 
BROAD WOOD in importance and production during the nineteenth century. 

The roots of the business go back to James Long-man's company, founded around 1767, which became the well-known 
LONGMAN & BRODERIP (1776-1798), music publishers as well as piano builders. Bankruptcy in 1798 led to a partnership 
between John Longman and MUZIO CLEMENTI, from which — with a succession of members — Clementi, Collard & 
Collard evolved ca. 1822. William Frederick Collard (1776-1866) joined the firm around 1800; his brother, Frederick William 
Collard (1772-1860), became a partner in 1810. dementi's death in 1832 left the two brothers, with F.W. Collard as senior 
partner. Thomas E.Purday took over the music publishing around 1834. Later, nephews Frederick William Collard and 
Charles Lukey Collard became partners, the latter heading the firm around 1877. 

dementi's genius helped shape the sound and quality of the pianos but PATENTS were filed in the names of F.W.Collard 
(e.g., in 1811, for an UPRIGHT PIANO made by setting a SQUARE PIANO upward on its long side) and W.F.Collard, 
whose interest was in TONE quality (e.g., in 1821, for a harmonic swell [pedal] and BRIDGE of reverberation that increased 
the resonance). Around 1826 James Stewart, formerly of CHICKERING in Boston and an inventor in his own right, joined 
Clementi, Collard & Collard where he served as foreman for thirty-five years. In 1827 he patented a technique that became 
the basis of modern STRINGING: in place of separate, adjacent strings, a double length of WIRE is passed around a larger, 
single HITCH PIN and back to an adjacent TUNING PIN. ERARD'S double ESCAPEMENT ACTION, simplified by Henri 
Hertz (1803- 1888) around 1840, was further modified and adopted by Collard & Collard. 

In England the GRAND PIANOS of Collard & Collard, along with those of Broadwood, were among the most highly 
regarded concert instruments in the first half of the nineteenth century. The firm also catered to clients of diverse economic 
strata. It made large instruments with six-and-a-half-octave KEYBOARDS in CASES of rose or other expensive woods 


highly ornamented with carving or inlaid work. Collard was also praised for small uprights of five-and-a-half octaves with 
one PEDAL in plain cases of inexpensive wood, designed for those of limited means. Rimbault described them as "little 
Quaker-like pianos of white wood, fine tone [a comment disputed by some, including Ehrlich] and most moderate price." Those 
displayed in the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851 cost thirty guineas (a skilled craftsman earned only thirty shillings a 
week!) while a decorative grand piano cost five hundred guineas. Collard exhibited two grand pianos, one large square, and three 
uprights. For comparison, Broadwood showed only four grands and the London branch of Erard showed four grands and three 
upright instruments. 

During the 1850s, after the construction of a new, efficiently-organized factory in 1851, Collard & Collard produced 
approximately fifteen hundred pianos a year, surpassed only by Broadwood' s approximately twenty-five hundred. (About a 
half-dozen English firms produced three to five hundred and other companies far fewer.) By 1870 Collard's output rose to 
twenty-five hundred and in 1896 the firm absorbed the KIRKMAN piano business. Unfortunately, in the latter part of the 
century the company was headed by men loath to accept the technological innovations of castiron FRAMES, over-stringing, 
and the use of machinery in the manufacturing process. In 1888 John Clementi Collard (1844-1918) attacked the new 
stringing as acoustically inferior. At the same time, aggressive marketing of their modernized instruments by German companies 
caused sales of English pianos to decline and in 1929 the CHAPPELL PIANO COMPANY, with an infusion of American 
capital, bought Collard & Collard, whose name, however, continued until 1971. A fire in Chappell's headquarters on 6 May 
1964 destroyed all Collard records. 

See Overstrung 

Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 2, 1 820- 1 860. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. 
Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent, 1976. 

Lamburn, Edward. A Short History of a Great House — Collard & Collard. London: Private Printing, 1938. 
Rimbault, Edward Francis. The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Progress and Construction. London: Cocks, 1860. 

This list includes only the largest of the many known private collections in the world. In the various public collections, 
there are significant differences in the numbers and choices of instruments. Patriotism often dominates a museum's selection 
of pianos. Whether according to plan or to coincidence, it is not unusual for a museum to concentrate its attention on pianos made 
in its own country. Nevertheless, the world's greatest piano collections tend toward eclecticism, an aim achieved by 
occasional trade or purchase. 




Haymarket NSW 
Wornambool Downs 

University of Melbourne, Faculty of Music 
University of Melbourne, Grainger Museum 
Powerhouse Museum 
Wornambool Museum 















Burgenlandisches Landesmuseum 

Johann van Beethoven-Haus 

Abteilung fur Kunstgewerbe, Landesmuseum Joanneum 

Institut fur Auffuhrungspraxis, Hochschule fur Musik und darstellende Kunst 


Stadtische Sammlungen: Haydn-Museum 
Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum 
Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum 
International Stiftung Mozarteum, Mozart-Museum 
Museum Carolino-Augusteum 


Vienna Demus Collection 

Vienna Badura- Skoda Collection 

Vienna Bundesmobilien Museum 

Vienna Kunsthistorisches Museum 

Vienna Museum der Stadt Wien 

Vienna Niederosterreichisches Landesmuseum 

Vienna Technisches Museum in Wien 

Weyregg am Attersee Museo Cristofori (Jorg Demus) 


Brugge (Bruges) 

Museum Vleeshuis 


Musee des Instruments de Musique 

Collection Kaufmann 

Collection Hanlet 


Alberta, Calgary Chinook Keyboard Centre (William Garlick Collection) 

Carillon, Quebec Musee Historique d'Argenteuil 

Saint John, New Brunswick New Brunswick Museum, Provincial Gallery 

Montreal Montreal Museum of Fine Arts 

Toronto, Ontario Royal Ontario Museum, R.S. Williams Collection 


Rancagua Museo Regional 

Czech Republic 

Kfecovice Josef Suk Museum 

Opava (Troppau) Schloss Hradec 

Prague Muzeum Ceske hudby, Narodni Muzeum (Museum of Czech Music, National Museum) 

Prague WA.Mozart Museum, Villa Bertramka 

Prague Bedfich Smetana Museum 

Prague Antonin Dvorak Museum 

Copenhagen Musikhistorisk Museum and Carl Claudius's Samling 

Copenhagen University of Copenhagen 


Quito Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana, Pedro Pablo Traversari Collection (Museo de Instrumentos Musicales) 


Eesti Teatri-ja Muusikamuuseum 


Abo (Turku) 
Abo (Turku) 

Sibeliusmuseum (Abo Akademi) 

Historical Museum (Turun Kaupungin Historiallinen Museo) 


Grasse Musee de Grasse 

Lyon Musee Historique de Gadagne 

Paris Musee de 1 'Opera 

Paris Musee de la Musique 

Paris Musee National des Techniques: Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers 

Paris Collection Andre Bissonet 

Versailles Chateau: Grand Trianon and Petit Trianon 

Bad Krozingen 

















Erbdrostenhof (Miinster) 

Frankfurt am Main 
Frankfurt am Main 
Frankfurt am Main 
Frankfurt an der Oder 

Halle an der Saale 










Musikhistorische Sammlung Jehle 


Sammlung Fritz Neumeyer 

Richard- Wagner-Museum, "Wahnfried" 

Musikinstrumenten Museum der Staatliches Institut fur Musikforschung, PreuBischer 



Kultur- und Forschungsstatte Michaelstein 

Beethovens Geburtshaus 

Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum 

Piano Museum und Sammlung Schimmel 

Stadtisches Museum, including the Grotrian-Steinweg Collection 

Bremer Landesmuseum fur Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte 

Kolnisches Stadtmuseum 


Westdeutscher Rundfunk 

Hessisches Landesmuseum 

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Museum fur Kunsthandwerk 

Thiiringer Museum 

Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege 

Universitat Erlangen Musikwissenschaft Seminar 


Historisches Museum 

Universitats Bibliothek, Manskopfisches Museum 

Bezirkmuseum Viadrina 


Georg-August Universitat Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar 


Altonaer Museum 

Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe 

Sammlung Beurmann 

Kurfalziches Museum 

Universitat Heidelberg Musikwissenschaftliches Seminar 
Universitat Leipzig Musikinstrumenten-Museum 
Sankt Annen-Museum 


Munich Bayerisches Nationalmuseum 

Munich Deutsches Museum 

Munich Stadtische Instrumentensammlung 

Munich Universitat Musikwissenschaftliches Institut 

Nuremberg Germanisches Nationalmuseum 

Potsdam Schloss Sans Souci 

Stuttgart Wurttembergisches Landesmuseum 

Ulm Museum der Stadt Ulm 

Weimar Goethe Nationalmuseum 

Weimar Liszt Museum 

Wurzburg Mainfrankisches Museum 

Zwickau Robert-Schumann-Haus 


Amsterdam Collection Cristofori 

The Hague Haags Gemeentemuseum, including several individual collections, such as the Carel van Leeuwen 

Boomkamp, the Dutch Royal Family, and the Rijksmuseum Collections 
Utrecht Instituut voor Muziekwetenschap der Rijksuniversiteit (University of Utrecht) 


Budapest Iparmuveszeti Muzeum (Decorative Arts Museum) 

Budapest Magyar Nemzeti Museum (Hungarian National Museum) 

Budapest Museum of the Bela Bartok Archives 

Budapest Music History Museum of the Academy of Sciences 

Gyor Janos Xantus Museum 

Kalocsa Archbishop's Palace 

Sopron Liszt Ferenc Museum 


Bologna Collezione L.F.Tagliavini 

Bologna Museo Civico 

Florence Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori (ABC) 

Florence Museo degli Strumenti Musicali del Conservatorio di Musica L.Cherubini 

Milan Museo degli Strumenti Musicali, Civico Museo, Castello Sforzesco 

Milan Museo Teatrale alia Scala 

Modena Museo Civico di Storia e Arte Medievale e Moderna 

Naples Conservatorio di Musica San Pietro a Maiella 

Rome Museo Nationale Strumentali Musicali 

Treviso Museo Civico 

Verona Accademia Filarmonica, includes the collection of the Musei Civici, Museo di Castelvecchio 


Hamamatsu Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments (includes the Dorothy and Robert Rosenbaum Collection) 
Tokyo Kunitachi College of Music Research Institute 

Tokyo Ueno Gakeun College 

Tokyo Musashino Academia Musicae 



Monaco Prince Rainier, Royal Palace 


Drammen Austad Gard, Drammen Museum 

Oslo Norsk Folkemuseum 

Trondheim Ringve Museum 

Bendomin k.Gdanska Muzeum Hymnu Narodowego 

Brok Parafia rzymsko-katolicka 

Bydgoszcz Kolekcja Zabytkowych Fortepianow Filharmonii Pomorskiej (Collection of the 

Pomeranian Philharmonic) 

Kamienna Gora Muzeum Tkactwa Dolnoslaskiego 

Kozlowska k. Iubartowa Muzeum Palac 

Krakow Muzeum Narodowe (National Museum) 

Lancut Muzeum Zamek 

Lublin Muzeum Okregowe 

Nieborow Muzeum Narodowe 

Opatowek Muzeum Historii Przemyslu 

Poznan Muzeum Instrumentow Muzycznych 

Poznan Palace in Arcugowo 

Przemysl Muzeum Narodowe Ziemi Przemyskiej 

Pszczyna Muzeum Wnetrz Palacowych 

Warsaw Muzeum Historyczne, Miastaw Warszawy 

Warsaw Polskie Radio i Telewizja, Dyrekcja Nagran 

Warsaw National Museum 

Warsaw Akademia Muzcyczne: F. Chopina (Chopin Society) 

Wloclawek Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Wloclawka 

Wroclaw (formerly Breslau, Germany) Schlesisches Museum fur Kunstgewerbe und Altertumer (destroyed during World 
War II) 

Zelazowa Wola Chopin's Birthplace 

Zgierz Muzeum Miasta Zgierza 

Museu de Musica 

Saint Petersburg Museum of Musical Instruments (formerly Institute for Scientific Research: Institute for Theater, Music, 

and Cinematography) 
Moscow M.E. Glinka State Central Museum of Musical Culture 

Slovak Republic 


Slovenske Narodne Muzeum (Slovak National Museum) 



Ptuj Pokrajinski Muzej Ptuj 

South Africa 

Cape Town University of Cape Town Faculty of Music 


Barcelona Museo de la Musica 

El Escorial Palacio de El Escorial 

Madrid La Rozas de Madrid, Collection Hazen 

Madrid Museo de Medallas y Musica del Palacio Real de Madrid 

Madrid Museo Municipal de Madrid 

Madrid Museo Nacional del Pueblo Espanol 

Madrid Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando 

Murcia Museo de Bellas Artes de Murcia 

Palma, Mallorca Monastery of Valldemosa 

Seville Casa de Murillo Museum 


Historiska Museet (Historical Museum) 
Kulturhistoriska Foreningen/ Sodra Sverige 
Statens musiksamlingar: Musikmuseet 
Stiftelsen Musikkulturens framjande 


Aarau Museum Schlossli 

Baden Stadtmuseum Schopfheim 

Basel Historisches Museum Basel, Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente 

Bern Historisches Museum Bern 

Bern Schloss Oberhofen Historisches Museum 

Bischofszell Ortsmuseum 

Bulle Musee gruerien 

Burgdorf Historisches Museum, Rittersaalvereins 

Frauenfeld Museum des Kantons Thurgau 

Fribourg Musee d'Art et d'Histoire 

Fribourg Musikwissenschaftlisches Institut der Universitat Fribourg 

Geneva Conservatoire de Musique 

Geneva Musee d'Art et d'Histoire 

Geneva Musee d'lnstruments Anciens de Musique de Geneve 

Genf Musee d'art et d'histoire 

Heiden Historisch-Antiquarischer Verein 

La Sarraz Chateau La Sarraz 

Laufen Heimatmuseum 

Lausanne Musee Historique de l'Eveche 

Lichtensteig Toggenburger Heimatmuseum 

Lucerne Richard- Wagner-Museum, Tribschen 

Neuchatel Musee d'Art et d'Histoire 

Goteborg (Gothenburg) 


Olten Historisches Museum Olten 

Rapperswil Heimatmuseum Rapperswil 

Samen Convent of Saint Andreas 

Sarnen Heimatmuseum 

Scuol/Schuls Museum d'Engiadina bassa 

Solothurn Historisches Museum, Schloss Blumenstein 

Solothurn Museum der Stadt Solothurn 

Sankt Gall Neues Museum 

Thun Historisches Museum, Schloss Thun 

Zurich Brogli Collection 

Zurich Schweizerisches Landesmuseum 

United Kingdom 



Bethersden, Kent 
Brentford, Middlesex 
County Durham 
Cranbrook, Kent 
East Clandon, Surrey 

Goudhurst, Kent 








Maidstone, Kent 





Port Sunlight 


American Museum 
Holburne of Menstrie Museum 
Number 1 Royal Crescent 
Colt Clavier Collection 
Russell Cotes Museum 
The British Piano Museum 
Mobbs Keyboard Collection 
Emmanuel College 

Cambridge University Faculty of Music 

Stanway House 

Goodwood House 

Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle 

Period Piano Company 

Hatchlands Park (Alec Cobbe Collection) 

Royal Albert Museum 

The Finchcocks Collection 

Holdenby House 

Doddington Hall 

Liverpool Museum, includes the Rushworth and Dreaper Collection 
Her Majesty the Queen 

English Heritage, Ranger's House, Blackheath (part of the Dolmetsch Collection, Horniman 

English Heritage, The Iveagh Bequest, Kenwood 
Fenton House, Benton Fletcher Collection 
Horniman Museum, Dolmetsch Collection 
Mirrey Collection 

The Royal Academy of Music, includes many pianos from the collection of John Broadwood & 

The Royal College of Music Museum of Instruments 
Victoria and Albert Museum 
Maidstone Museums and Art Gallery 
Heaton Hall 

The Royal Northern College of Music 

Faculty of Music, StAldate's, including The Bate Collection 

Pitt Rivers Museum 

Trustees of the Lady Lever Collection 

Castle Museum 


Dundee City of Dundee Art Galleries and Museums 

Edinburgh The Georgian House 

Edinburgh University of Edinburgh, Collection of Musical Instruments, Reid Concert Hall 

Edinburgh University of Edinburgh, Russell Collection, Saint Cecilia's Hall 

Glasgow Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries 

United States of America 



Mother Colony House (first house in Anaheim) 


University of California, Department of Music 

Cherry Valley 

Edward-Dean Museum 

City of Industry 

Workman-Rowland Ranch Reservoir Museum, Workman and Temple 


Kenneth G.Fiske Museum 

Los Angeles 

University of Southern California, Hancock Memorial Museum 

Los Angeles 

Avila Adobe, Olvera Street 

Los Angeles 

County Museum of Natural History 

Los Angeles 

Lugo Family, Rancho San Antonio Lugo 

Los Angeles 

Toller Ranch House 

Los Angeles 

University of California, Department of Music 

Mission Hills 

Eulegio de Celis family, Andres Pico Adobe 


Adobe Sanchez Museum 


Robert Louis Stevenson Home 


Adobe de Palomares Museum 


Mission Inn Foundation 

San Francisco 

California Historical Society 

San Francisco 

DeYoung Museum 

San Francisco 

Frank Bellis Collection, San Francisco State University 

San Francisco 

Society of California Pioneers 

San Marino 

Henry E.Huntington Library, Art Gallery and Botanical Gardens 

Santa Ana 

Bowers Museum 

Santa Fe Springs 

Ogilvie Family, Sanford Adobe 


Governor Vallejo Home 


Stanford University, Department of Music 


Bjarne B.Dahl Collection 


Pio Pico's El Ranchito, Pio Pico State Park 


General Phineas Banning Residence Museum 


New Haven Yale Collection of Musical Instruments, including the Skinner and Steinert Collections 


Winterthur Henry Francis duPont Winterthur Museum 

District of Columbia 

Washington National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution), including the Hugo Worch Collection 

Washington The White House 


Jacksonville Cummer Gallery of Art 

Saint Augustine Lightner Museum 

Saint Augustine National Society of Colonial Dames, Ximenez-Fatio House 

White Springs Stephen Foster Memorial 

Atlanta Atlanta Historical Society 

Augusta Georgia State Society of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution 


Hanaiakamalama, Home of Queen Emma of Hawaii 


Art Institute of Chicago 
Chicago Historical Society 
Galena Museum 


Baton Rouge 


Benjamin Harrison Home 


Anglo-American Art Museum 


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Home 



Baltimore Museum of Art 

Maryland Historical Society 

Edgar Allen Poe Home 

Historical Society of Frederick County 



Braintree (Quincy) 

E.Michael Frederick Collection 
Boston Public Library 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 
New England Conservatory of Music 
John Adams Home, Peacefield 
Historic Deerfield 


Milton Historical Society, Suffolk Resolves House 

Newton The Marlowe A.Sigal Collection 

Old Newbury Historical Society 

Salem Essex Institute 

Salem Pingree House 

Salem The House of Seven Gables 

Sharon Whaling Museum 

Wellesley Wellesley College 


Ann Arbor University of Michigan, Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments 

Dearborn Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Detroit Detroit Historical Society 

Detroit Detroit Institute of Arts 


Rochester Olmstead County Historical Society 

Saint Paul Minnesota Historical Society 

Saint Paul The Schubert Club 

Nebraska Historical Society 

New Hampshire 

Concord Franklin Pierce Home 

Hillsborough Franklin Pierce Homestead 

New Jersey 

Caldwell Grover Cleveland Home 

Newark Newark Museum 

New York 

Albany Albany Institute of History and Art 

Brooklyn Brooklyn Museum 

Buffalo Buffalo Museum of Science 

New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, including the Crosby Brown Collection 

North Carolina 

Chapel Hill Ackland Art Museum 

Durham Duke University, The Ruth and G.Norman Eddy Collection 

Greensboro Greensboro Historical Museum 

Greensboro University of North Carolina, Greensboro, Department of Music 

Hillsborough Hillsborough Historic Commission 

New Bern New Bern Historical Society 


Raleigh State of North Carolina, Executive Mansion 

Raleigh Wake County Chapter, Colonial Dames, Haywood Hall 

Winston- Salem Moravian Music Foundation 

Winston- Salem Old Salem 

Winston-Salem Wachovia Historical Society 



Cincinnati Art Museum 
Taft Museum 

Allen County Historical Society 

William McKinley National Memorial Library 


Washington County Pioneer Museum 








Moravian Museum 

State Museum of Pennsylvania 

The Governor's Mansion 

Bucknell University 

American Catholic Historical Society 

Historical Society of Pennsylvania 

South Carolina 


Charleston Museum: Aiken-Rhett House 

Charleston Museum: Joseph Manigault House 

Historic Charleston Foundation 

Museum of Art 

Alumni House, Salem College 


South Dakota 

University of South Dakota, America's Shrine to Music Museum 

James Knox Polk Home 
Peabody Hotel 

Andrew Jackson Home, The Hermitage 



Charles City 




I 'irginia 

Custis Lee Mansion, Arlington Cemetery 

John Tyler Home, Sherwood Forest 

James Monroe Home, Ash Lawn 

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation: Monticello 

Prestwood Plantation 


Mount Vernon 

James Monroe Law Office and Memorial Library 
Woodlawn Plantation 
College of William and Mary 
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation 

West Virginia 


Huntington Galleries 


Sturgeon Bay 

Door County Historical Society MARTHA NOVAK CLINKSCALE 


Few collections have printed catalogs available. The following bibliography contains a list of books and articles that describe some of the 
outstanding collections which do include pianos. The reader is referred to Laurence Libin's article, "Instruments, Collections of," in 
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Volume 9, pages 248 254, for a helpful and extensive bibliograpln of general anil 
specific musical instrument collections. 

Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1, 1700- 1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993 (ms. p. 222). 

— . Makers of the Piano. Vol. 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Kottick, Edward L.. and George Lucklcnberg. Early Keyboard Instruments in European Museums. Bloominglon and Indianapolis: Indiana 
University Press, 1997. 

Luithlcn Victor. Kai lo a , S v/ , , Vlusikins umente. I. Teil, Saitenklaviere. Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1966. 
Stradncr. Gerhard. Musikinstrumente in Grazer Sammlungen. Grazer olTenlliche Sammlungen. 

Tabulae Musicae Austriacae: Kataloge osterreichischer Musikiiberlieferung. Edited by Othmar Wessely. Band XI. Vienna: Der 

Osterreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1986. 
Wessely, Othmar. Die Musikinstrumentensammlung des Oberosterreichischen Landesmuseums. Linz: Oberosterrei-chisches 

Landesmuseum, n.d. 

Catalogus van t'i VI i bet i v/ v ni | \l ci in k i hi i 1 1 i 

Mahillon, Victor-Charles. Catalogue descriptif et analytique du Musee Instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique. Vol. 5. Brussels: 
Conservatoire Royal de Musique, 1922. 

Cizek, Bohuslav. 300 Years with the Piano. Prague: National Museum, 1999. Illustrated exhibition catalog with accompanying CD. 




Cselenyi, Ladislav. Musical Instruments in the Royal Ontario Museum. Toronto: Thorn Press, 1971 . 

Czech Republic 


Dahlstrom, Fabian. Finlansk Klavertillverkning fore ar 1900 samt beskrivning av Sibeliusmuseets inhemska klaversamling. Abo (Turku): 



1 c, Gv irk nd Dicier Krickcbci i n ' i Hi i n lulii l i llichcs Inslilul fur .Vlusikforschung, 1981. 

Meer, John Henry van der. Wegweiser durch die Sammlung lustorischer Mmikiiistrumente. 3d ed. Niirnberg: Germanisches 
Nationalmuseum, 1982. 

Neupert, Hanns unbei li mi ipert, 193S. 

Sasse, Konrad. Katalog zu den Sammlungen des Hdndel-Hauses in Halle, V Musikinslrimientensainmliing. Besaitete I asteninstrumente. 

Halle an der Saale: Handel-Haus, 1966. 
Heyde, Herbert, llistorischc Musikinstiiancntc im Bachhaus Eisenach, kisenach: Bachhaus, 1976. 

Vaterlein, Christian, and Josef Maria Wagner Mnsikinslrnmcutcusammlnng im Krnchtkasien: Begleiihiich. Stuttgart: Wiirt- tembergisches 
Landcsmuseum, 1993. 


Gunji, Sumi, et ak, eds. The Collection of Musical Instruments [of the] Kunitachi College of Music. 2 vols., rev. and enlarged. Tokyo: 
Kunitachi College of Music, 1996. 

The Netherlands 

Gleich, Clemens von. A C li t t llusi in ( 1 i / kdited bv Rob van Acht. Vol. 1 . Th 

Hague: Gemeentemuseum, 1986. 


Vogel, Beniamin. Kolekcja Zabytkowych Fortepianow Filharmonii Pomorskiej. Bydgoszcz: Filharmonia Pomorska im. Ignacego 
Paderewskiego Osrodek Dokumentacji Zabytkow W.Warszawie, 1987. 

United Kingdom 

Cobbe, Alec.yi Century of Keyboard Instrument s 1760-1860. Cambridge: Fitzwilliam Museum, 1983. 

Newman, Sidney, and Peter Williams. The Russell Collection and Other Early Keyboard Instruments in Saint Cecilia 's Hall, Edinburgh. 

Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, 1968. 
Dow, William. Finchcocks Collection: Catalogue. The Richard Burnett Collection of Historical Keyboard Instruments. Compiled by 

William Dow, with a foreword by Richard Burnett. Goudhurst, Kent: Finchcocks, 1989. 
Rushton, Pauline, ed. European Musical Instruments in Liver-pool Museum. Merseyside: National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, 


Russell, Raymond. Catalogue of the Bent on Fletcher Collection at Fenton House, Hampstead. London: Fenton House, 1957. 
Schott, Howard. Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Vol. 1, Keyboard Instruments. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Her Majesty's 
Stationery Office, 1985. 

Palmer, Frances. The Dolmetsch Collection of Musical Instruments. London: Archway Press, 1981. 

United States of America 

Good, Edwin M. The Eddy Collection of Musical Instruments. Berkeley: Fallen Lea!" Press. 1985 
Rosier. John. Kcyhoard Musical Instruments ai the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 
Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and London: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 

Odell, Scott, and Cynthia Adams Hoover, eds. A Checklist of Keyboard Instruments at the Smithsonian Institution. 2d ed. Washington, 
D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1975. 

A combination or compound piano is a piano that is combined with another instrument. Unlike the piano ORCHESTRION, 
it is generally an amalgamation with another KEYBOARD instrument. 

The earliest examples were the combined harpsichord-spinets of the eighteenth century. When in 1716 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI catalogued the musical instrument collection in Florence of the Grand Duke Cosimo III of 
Tuscany, he listed an organ combined with a spinet, another with a harpsichord and two spinets, and a third combined with a 
clavichord. By the second half of the eighteenth century, harpsichord-pianos were popular. In 1759 the Amsterdam-born 


maker Weltman (Veltman) showed the Academy of Science in Paris a Clavecin a maillets that also included a full-compass 
(presumably meaning fully chromatic) carillon. 

Numerous combinations of pianos with all sorts of other instruments have been constructed. The ingenuity of the builder 
was given full reign to explore the possibilities that lay ahead. Examples of various types of combination pianos are here 

Harpsichord-Piano: The oldest known harpsichord-piano was made in 1774 by JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN, who called 
his instrument "Claviorganum" (the title is in fact erroneous, this name being reserved for the combination of 
harpsichord and organ). Other similar combinations were invented or improved by ROBERT STODART in 1777, 
JOHANNES ANDREAS STEIN in his vis-a-vis FLUGEL of 1777, James Davis in 1792, and SEBASTIEN ERARD in 


Clavicliorcl-Piano: In 1792 JOHN GEIB invented a new musical instrument with two sets of keyboards, a piano joined 
together with a clavichord. 

Double Piano: The combination of two pianos was also devised; in 1801 in Vienna, MATTHIAS MULLER constructed 

his DITANAKLASIS, in which two UPRIGHT PIANOS were placed back to back, with one instrument playing an 
octave above. In 181 1 Sebastien Erard devised his "piano a deux claviers en regard," a double piano with two opposing 

keyboards. The brothers Mangeot PATENTED a "piano a claviers renverses" in 1876. The idea came from Joseph 
Wieniawski, a renowned pianist of the day. The instrument comprised two superimposed GRAND PIANOS, one being 
reversed and placed upon the other. The left hand plays the lower keyboard, which runs from the bass (left) to the treble 
(right), while the right hand plays on the upper keyboard, which runs the opposite way. 
Piano-Violin: Gama of Nantes invented his plectroeuphone in 1827. The STRINGS were struck with HAMMERS or 
bowed with an endless bow. In 1 865 a patent was obtained by Hubert Cyrille Baudet, represented by Leblanc, for a 
combination of keyboard instruments called piano-violon. 
Piano-Cymbalom: This instrument was introduced in 1913 by Hideg of Hungary. It met no success, not even in its country 

of origin. 

Piano with Three or More Instruments (or their imitation): Robert Worton made a combination of piano, harpsichord, 
and violin in 1861 called the lyro-vis-piano. Here, JACKS and HAMMERS were combined by joining the hammers 
with an arm equivalent to the harpsichord jack. The strings could also be bowed by means of a piece of wood in the 
shape of a quadrant, "which forms a rocking or reciprocating bow which partially revolves in contact with the strings 

and produces a kind of violin tone." Without the harpsichord stop this instrument was called vispianoforte. 
ALEXANDRE FRANCOIS DEBAIN, a well-known Parisian instrument maker, invented the piano-concert in 1877, 

which combined a harmonicorde, an organ, a harmonium, and a piano. 
Piano-Organ: Both SQUARE PIANOS and grand pianos have been combined with positive organs. At the end of the 
eighteenth century there were several builders of these instruments: Johann Gottlob Horn from Dresden (1785), Thomas 
Kunz from Prague (1796), and Sebastien Pfeffel from Havre (1797). In 1800 Johann Heinrich Voller from Angersbach 
brought out the Apollonion, which was a piano with an eighteen-stop organ. In 1 854 Edouard Alexandre presented a 
combination instrument with separate mechanisms. This instrument was made at the request of FRANZ LISZT. It had 
three keyboards and sixteen stops, as well as a pedal. Athanase Mathurin Pierre Airiau took provisional protection in 
1862 for a "new musical instrument. . .permitting the simultaneous or alternate production of tones. . .of the piano and 
the organ." Here the organ part was added mainly below the keyboard. Some sources, though difficult to verify, 
mention that CHRISTIAN GOTTLOB FRIEDERICI also made piano-organs at the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. In 1772 the organ builder to the king of France, L'Epine, displayed to the Academy of Science in Paris a "forte 
piano" to which was attached a pipe organ. By far the largest number of piano-organ combinations followed the 
development and subsequent refinement of the principles of the free-reed organ, or harmonium, and its design and 
construction. CLAUDE FELIX SEYTRE appears to have had such an instrument in mind: his patent of 1 842 refers to 
incorporating in his piano "the music board of the organ, harmonica, or accordion which play in all keys and which 
accompany the piano or play solos." 
The first definitive reference to a piano-reed-organ combination appears to be that of Obed Mitchell Coleman of Philadelphia, 
whose invention was for an "a?olian, or reed-organ, attachment to the piano" and covered by patents in the U.S. (no. 3,548 
granted on 17 April 1844), in Britain (no. 10,341) and France (no. 311). Three years later, piano-organs built on Coleman's 
designs were being manufactured in Boston by T.Gilbert & Company. A similar instrument was designed in 1863 by a man 
from Buffalo, Lafayette Louis, who was granted a U.S. patent for his combined reed organ and piano. The popularity of the 
reed organ in the 1880s, particularly following the invention of the so-called American organ, which used suction instead of 
pressure (as used by the original melodeon and harmoniums), spawned many attempts to unite reed organs with pianos. 
Makers in the United States, England, Germany, and France turned out pieces ranging from full-compass dual mechanisms 
down to small organ keyboards combined with the upper registers of the piano. 


The best known of the former was the "Orgapian" made by Whomes of Bexleyheath, England, a number of which were 
produced in 1915. Another was the "Clavimonium," intended as an accompaniment instrument for silent pictures, a rather 
poor attempt at making a low-cost English THEATRE PHOTOPLAYER. All such combination pianos, whether reed organ or 
pipe, suffered from one inherent defect: that of keeping the two instruments in tune with each other. 



Good, Edwin Marshall. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technoh^iail History from Cristofori to the Mod- em Concert 

Grand. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed., Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Harmonium. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 1986; New York: Vestal Press, 1986. 

. Pianola — History & Development. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

Russell, Raymond. The Harpsichord & Clavichord. London: Faber, 1973. 

Sachs, Curt. Real-Lexicon der Musikinstrumente. Berlin: Julius Bard, 1913. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1964. 

Although influential primarily because of the music they created, composers from WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART 
through JOHANNES BRAHMS and Bela Bartok also encouraged — or at least responded to — developments in piano 
technology; in so doing they helped make the piano the most widely purchased and played instrument of the late nineteenth 
and early twentieth centuries. Other composers — John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, to name but two — have to some 
extent been responsible for the relative decline of the piano's importance in serious music, especially since World War II. 

Many of the finest Classical, Romantic, and post-Romantic composers of Europe and the United States were themselves 
pianists who wrote large amounts of music for their instrument. A complete list of these composers would fill pages; it merely 
Schubert, John Field, FREDERIC CHOPIN, ROBERT SCHUMANN, FRANZ LISZT, Brahms, Peter Ilich Tchaikovksy, 
Edward MacDowell, Edvard Grieg, Antonin Dvorak, Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin, Charles Ives, Arnold Schonberg, 
and Bartok. These and other creative artists stimulated developments in piano technology, or at least made use of those 
developments, primarily through the piano music they wrote. More than a few of these composers were also performing 
artists of the highest caliber, whose concert appearances helped secure for the piano a position in nineteenth-century music 
analogous to the position held by the violin in the eighteenth century or by the lute in the seventeenth. Finally, a few 
composers — MUZIO CLEMENTI among them — were themselves piano manufacturers who used their own instruments to 
demonstrate the beauties of the pieces they composed. 

The development of the piano concerto as a medium of musical expression called for instruments capable of projecting the 
quietest as well as the most violent passages Mozart — and later Beethoven — were capable of writing. These composers and 
others of their generations put an end to the harpsichord versus piano controversy that had raged during much of the late 
eighteenth century in certain musical circles. Beethoven, especially, wrote music that demanded the larger compass, stronger 
FRAME, and greater capacity for dynamic contrasts that pianos like those of BROAD WOOD'S firm made available to 
purchasers by 1820; thus the designation "Hammerklavier" for Beethoven's Sonata in B-flat Major, op. 106 (published in 
1819), was utterly appropriate. Subsequently, Sigismond Thalberg, Chopin, and especially Liszt exploited the capacities of 
the even larger, even more flexible instruments manufactured by ERARD and other French firms. Their compositions thus 
became associated with Parisian instruments of seven octaves and double-ESCAPEMENT actions, just as the compositions of 
Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms became associated with Viennese instruments manufactured by GRAF, BOSENDORFER, 
and STREICHER. Even today many performers believe that VIENNESE PIANOS are uniquely suited to delicate passages 
like the opening of Schubert' s posthumously published Sonata in B-flat Major (1828); that the rhapsodies and intermezzos of 
Brahms, pitched to a considerable extent in the middle and lower ranges of the modern piano, sound best on Bosendorfer 
instruments; and that Chopin and Liszt conceived at least some of their most spectacular keyboard effects on and for pianos 
manufactured by the firms in whose showrooms they regularly introduced their music to the world. 

Piano pieces, especially of a somewhat simpler character, increased in popularity after the middle of the nineteenth century. 
Method books and collections of keyboard exercises, some of them composed or contributed to by the likes of Carl Czerny, 
Schumann, and Liszt, provided students of every background and taste with appropriate pedagogical material. The rise of the 
American piano industry, especially after 1865, was complemented by the compositions of Edward MacDowell and his New 
World successors, as well as by ragtime composers like Scott Joplin, who tailored piano pieces to amateur as well as 
professional talents. In Europe as in America, piano ownership became a sine qua non of financial as well as artistic respectability 
— and small wonder, since so much of the best (as well as the most entertaining) music was written for the piano. By 1914, 


when World War I began, the talents of the piano composers, combined with the increasing affluence of Western music- 
lovers, had made possible the mass production and widespread sales of iron-framed, seven-octave STEINWAY, 
CHICKERING, and Bosendorfer instruments (to mention but a few prominent names) on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. 

The piano began to decline in relative popularity only when composers like Debussy, Scriabin, and Schonberg began to 
write music either too technically demanding or too experimental in style to suit mass consumption. As the twentieth century 
progressed, the piano gradually became associated less often with new music, more often with the masterpieces of the 
previous century and with jazz, the earliest popular music of distinctive character. Comparative indifference on the part of 
composers like Igor Stravinsky, Paul Hindemith, and the Viennese serialists to solo piano music as an important vehicle for 
expression and experimentation contributed to that situation, as did growing fondness on the part of jazz enthusiasts for 
bigger bands and fewer keyboard solos. Bartok was an exception to this rule; his piano works, including the six-volume 
collection of Mikrokosmos pieces, have influenced the teaching of piano music and have found a place in the permanent 
keyboard repertory. Less "successful" than Bartok, avant-gardists of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s proved themselves more 
innovative in approaching the piano as a mechanism. In works like Metamorphosis (1938), for instance, John Cage experimented 
with "PREPARED" PIANOS, instruments outfitted with wedges and coins inserted between or placed on top of groups of 
STRINGS. Explorations into the electrical amplifications of conventional instruments by Stockhausen and his followers failed 
satisfactorily to transform the standard piano into a "modern" instrument — although, since the late 1950s, electric keyboard 
instruments (including certain kinds of SYNTHESIZERS) have begun to acquire composers and literatures of their own. 




A concert grand is a nine- to twelve-foot GRAND PIANO used almost exclusively in medium to large concert halls. It is 
usually finished in ebony black. A piano this size is necessary for the concerto repertoire, in which the piano competes with a 
full-sized symphony orchestra. The largest sizes have usually been made at a customer's special request. 

See also Grand Piano; see illustration under Stein-way & Sons 



Console piano is a low UPRIGHT PIANO about forty inches high, introduced by JEAN-HENRI PAPE in Paris in 1828. This 
instrument was the first to be built with cross-stringing, which was Pape's invention and which was quickly adopted by 
contemporary makers. Console is also used as a synonym for the modern SPINET piano. 

See also Cross-Strung; Upright Piano 



Cottage piano was originally a small, low UPRIGHT about four to five feet high and distinguished by vertical stringing 
that reaches to the floor. It was PATENTED by the London builder ROBERT WORNUM in 181 1; the earliest models were 
built by Wornum and his partner George Wilkinson. Wornum continued to improve his original design for the cottage piano 
until 1828, while other builders lost no time in imitating the style. These include JOHN BROAD WOOD & SONS, 

See also Upright Piano 



Couplers are seldom used in pianos. A series of experiments with octave couplers are to be found in the first half of the 
nineteenth century (patented variously by ERARD, STREICHER, Boisselot, Samuel Warren, et al.). They also occur in some 
multimanual pianos, such as the MOOR keyboard, to make keyboards play simultaneously. 

See also Keyboards 


CREHORE, BENJAMIN (1765-1831) 

Benjamin Crehore was the first commercial piano builder in New England. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, he had an 
instrument-making and repair shop there for much of his life. Prominent piano makers of the early nineteenth century, such as 
JOHN OSBORNE and ALPHEUS BABCOCK and his brother Lewis, received their training from Crehore. While Crehore 
was not especially successful in his own business, he is credited with establishing the piano industry in New England. 

After experience with other instruments (there are still several extant Crehore violoncelli), Crehore began to repair 
keyboard instruments by the 1790s. He started to build pianos a few years later and then entered into business in 1798 with Peter 
A. von Hagen, a conductor at Boston's Federal Street Theater, who owned a music shop and also gave music lessons. The 
partnership dissolved after slightly more than a year. 


Crehore continued to build pianos in Milton but his production apparently never exceeded ten or twelve pianos annually. 
Crehore pianos were reportedly sold in New York as well as in New England, but unfortunately for Crehore, most buyers 
preferred the more prestigious imports, especially those from London. In later years he gave up manufacturing pianos himself 
and worked for the Babcock brothers. All but one of the nine Crehore pianos still known to be extant contain simple ZUMPE 
actions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art collection includes a Crehore SQUARE PIANO with a double action. 



Kuroncn, Darcy. "The Musical Instruments of Benjamin Crehore." Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 4 (1992): 52-79. 
Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and 
W.W.Norton and Co, 1985. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Benjamin Crehore." London: Macmillan; Washington 
DC: Grove's Dictionaries, 1980. 

Spillane, Daniel, llhtoiy of the American PUmoforii : lis Technical Den lopmem and the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New 
York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

The inventor of the first pianoforte, Bartolomeo Cristofori, was born on 4 May 1655, in Padua, Italy. He was a builder of 
musical keyboard instruments, and after 1680 he concentrated on and experimented with the structural design and the 
ACTION mechanism of harpsichords. Around 1698, or at least by 1700, during his early career as court instrument maker to 
Prince Ferdinando de' Medici at Florence, he invented the arpicimbalo die fa i! piano e il forte (a harpsichord that produces 
soft and loud). He continued to experiment, design, and build this instrument — which to this very day has no name other than 
"quiet-loud," that is, pianoforte — until the time of his death in Florence on 27 January 1732 {stile fiorentino 1731, based on the 
liturgical calendar). There are at present only three surviving Cristofori instruments, all of which were completed during the 
second decade of the eighteenth century — in 1720, 1722, and 1726. 

The church records of Saint Luke's in Padua indicate that Bartolomeo was the son of Francesco Cristofori, a man of 
meager circumstances. The younger Cristofori began his career as a tuner and builder of lutes, bowed string instruments, and 
harpsichords (clavicembali) . By 1687 Cristofori's impressive reputation as a fine harpsichord builder attracted the attention of 
Prince Ferdinando de' Medici, who, while traveling through Venice and Lombardy, stopped in Padua and invited Cristofori to 
move to Florence and work as an instrument builder at the royal court. The prince was the eldest son of the reigning grand 
duke, Cosimo III of Toscana, and was himself a capable amateur harpsichord player. He was a dedicated patron of the arts 
who endeavored to establish an Italian center of intellectual affairs at Florence. 

The earliest documents recording Cristofori's activities in Florence date from 1688, where expense records show his 
appointment to Prince Ferdinando's court at about 1 April 1688. By 1700 the Medici court at Florence owned at least thirty-three 
harpsichords, two clavichords, and two portative organs, so the need for a full-time keyboard technician and tuner was clear. 
Judging from the files of 15 August 1690 to 12 October 1711, most of Cristofori's duties for the Medici court involved the 
restoring, repairing, and general maintenance of various court instruments and the building of new harpsichords. Part of his 
duties included the purchasing of essential construction materials such as glue, brass and iron WIRE, vulture quills, various 
types of wood, FELT, LEATHER, nails, and transporting of the Medici court instruments to and from the Royal Palace 

There were very few court records or letters bearing Cristofori's name during the period 1690-1700. A letter written in 1693 
from Florence, indicating that he hired a singer, only serves to locate his whereabouts. Of more importance is the fact that 
during the last decade of the seventeenth century he began work on his first HAMMER action KEYBOARD. According to 
the court opera composer and music director, Francesco Mannucci, Cristofori began preliminary work on the "arpicimbalo 
che fa il piano e il forte" before 1698; and the 1700 Medici inventory of musical instruments indicates that he completed work 
on the instrument prior to 1700. The Medici account files of August 1690 through October 1711 include no instrument of this 
description (among the signed and unsigned keyboard instruments catalogued, we find seven harpsichords by Cristofori but 
no mention of a piano); but the Inventario di diverse sorti d 'instrument! nuisieuli in propria del serenissimo Sig. Principe 
Ferdinando di Toscana (The Medici Inventory of Diverse Instruments [entry no. 30]) of 1700 includes Cristofori's invention, 
un Arpicimbalo di Bartolomeo Cristofori, di nuova inventione che fa il piano e il forte — still the earliest known reference to a 
Cristofori piano. 

Such an instrument could utilize a touch-sensitive keyboard to satisfy the new expressive requirements of baroque opera. 
And initially at least, Cristofori attempted to achieve these ends by improving the sound-generating mechanism of the 
traditional Italian harpsichord (see Fig. 31) by replacing the JACKS (saltarelli) with little LEATHER-covered hammers. The 
new instrument had to be capable of producing, throughout the complete range of the keyboard, various levels of intensity and 
subtle gradations of nuance. 


Fig. 29. Earliest extant Cristofori "Pianoforte," 1720. (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 
1889. [89.4.1219]) 

Cristofori's crowning achievement was his creation of a high-velocity sound-generating device that was not attached to any 
other part of the action mechanism (see Fig. 30), one that was a free-moving agent, not attached to the jack or to the key 
lever. Generally, when a relatively fixed or limited amount of energy was applied to a key lever, it and all other stationary 
parts affixed to it could only generate a low level of intensity. An example of just such a relatively slow-motion, low -level 
intensity, single-lever keyboard ac tion is found in the clavichord. Historically this instrument, though very expressive, was 
characterized as being capable of producing an extremely narrow range of dynamics and very weak sonorities (at a distance of 
ten feet or more this instrument was practically inaudible). Cristofori created greater keyboard action speed by first increasing 
the tension and density of the STRINGS and then by expanding the system of keyboard leverage. Thicker strings and higher 
string tension increased the intensity of sound and also drove the hammers back and away from the string (rebound) at a much 
higher speed. Obviously a faster hammer return immediately increased the speed of key repetition. Momentum was also 
substantially increased by the addition of intermediate levers, which greatly improved the ratio (of movement) from 1 to 1 to 
approximately 8 to 1. 

In his quest for unencumbered action parts, Cristofori reduced the friction of at least two mechanical components by 
separating the sound-generating device (hammer assembly) from the key lever. He envisioned a free-moving hammer 
assembly that could somehow be controlled: a mechanism that would strike the string but once, not rebounding several times 
and repeating itself, and at the same time a mechanism that, when the key is depressed, would not lodge itself against the 
string and thus obstruct the vibration. Toward this end he engineered a separate sound-activator assembly consisting of a 
hammer head, BUTT, and shank. Then a linguetta mobile (see G. in Fig. 30, moveable tongue), positioned directly in front of 
the key RAIL fulcrum, was inserted between the hammer butt and the key lever. This springloaded ESCAPEMENT lever 
(spingitore) directed all movement from the key lever directly to the hammer butt, and at that precise moment when the 
hammer made contact with the string the same lever would shift slightly forward, allowing the hammer to return once again to 
its original position. As a result, the entire hammer assembly (butt, flange, and shank) could freely move without being 
impeded by any other action part. This complicated interaction between and among parts is called escapement. 

Other important features of Cristofori's first piano action were the DAMPER and the hammer BACK-CHECK mechanism. 
In Cristofori's 1700 keyboard action, each single damper was lowered when the front of the KEY was depressed, a design 
quite unlike the traditional harpsichord jack. The main difference was that the harpsichord damper raised when the key was 
pressed down and was a single, integral part of the jack and plectrum assembly (see Fig. 31). In the piano action the damper 
was attached instead to a second lever at the far end of the key and functioned on its own, as a separate entity. Furthermore, 
the back-check mechanism served to catch the hammer on its first rebound from the stretched string. Since the hammer could 
now travel at a high rate of speed, any rebound, depending upon the force applied and the momentum generated, could repeat 

TAViy. 1/8. 

i, which Maffei published ir 

:s the second lever 

I. (The explar 

Fig. 30. Scipione Maffei's diagram of the Cristofori 
English translation [1860] of the Maffei text.) 

A. String 

B. Frame of the keyboard 

C. The key or first lever, which at its extremity r< 

D. The block on the first lever by which it acts 

E. The second lever, on each side of which is a jawbone-shaped piece to support the little tongue or hopper 

F. The pivot of the second lever 

G. The moveable tongue (hopper), which, being raised by the second lever (E), forces the hammer upwards 

H. The jawbone-shaped pieces between which the hopper is pivoted 

I. The strong brass wire pressed together at the top, which keeps the hopper in its place 

L. The spring of brass wire that goes under the hopper and holds it pressed firmly against the wire that is behind it 
M. The receiver, in which all the buts [butts] of the hammers rest 
N. The circular part of the hammers, which rests in the receiver 

O. The hammer, which, when pressed upwards by the hopper, strikes the string with the leather on its top 

P. The strings of silk, crossed, on which the stems, or shanks, of the hammers rest 

Q. The end of the second lever (E), which becomes lowered by the act of striking the key 

e lowered when the key is touched, leaving the string free to vibrate, and then returning to their plac 

is the first published 

S. Part of the frame to strengthen the 

the original impulse several times before coming to rest. In the initial action design (before 1720) Cristofori solved this 
problem by creating a back-check cradle made of crossed silk-threads, capable of catching and securing the hammer when it 
returned from the string, thereby preventing any further hammer rebound movement. Apparently sometime between 1700 and 
1720 the back-check mechanism was redesigned and moved permanently (in the 1722 and 1726 extant pianos) to the far end 
of the key lever, where it now functioned as a leather-covered, wire-supported wedge that successfully secured the entire 
hammer assembly after only one single rebound (see Fig. 32). 

Cristofori was confronted with still another engineering dilemma. His new piano action design, now an up-striking hammer 
assembly resting on its back in a horizontal position, simply did not fit very well into the traditional harpsichord CASE. The 
distance the hammer had to travel from its point of rest to the point of impact at the string was too great. (Later in his career 
Cristofori chose to solve this particular problem by elongating the hammer heads in order to reach the strings.) The inventor 






Fig. 3 1 . Harpsichord Jack 

knew that in order to execute the infinite number and variety of nuances inherent in baroque musical art on a pianoforte, the 
performer's only control over the instrument would be limited to his control over the speed of the hammer from its point of 
rest to its point of contact at the string. And in fact, the shorter the distance from the hammer head (at rest) to the string, the 
greater the degree of control by the player. In a traditional Italian harpsichord the strings were located on top of the wrest 
plank (PINBLOCK) and were transverse over the SOUNDBOARD and soundboard BRIDGES. This particular arrangement 
was not deemed satisfactory by Cristofori, since the pinblock (wrest plank) now almost completely dominated the space 
between the hammer heads and the overhead strings. Therefore, in order to resolve the problem, the inventor drove the pins 
through the wrest plank and strung the wires beneath, reducing the distance from the action parts to the strings by nearly half. 

Cristofori was also thoroughly convinced that a vented opening near the front of a keyboard instrument was extremely 
important for acoustical reasons. While some Italian builders of the time omitted any type of acoustical vent, others did 
include such an aperture, but it was located in the center of the soundboard and inlaid with an ornamented rosette made of 


" W^- check 

Fig. 32. Cristofori's action for his "pianoforte" of 1720. (Courtesy Dover Publications [New York] — Alfred Dolge. Pianos and Their 

parchment and veneer. Cristofori was confident that this opening allowed the surrounding air to escape while the soundboard 
and strings freely vibrated. Without such an opening, he felt, the instrument would not have the capacity to sustain pitches 
over a long period of time. In short, the instrument would not be able to resonate. Therefore, he placed the vents in the belly 
rail on the inner case FRAME. This tradition was carried out by Cristofori and his apprentices (GIOVANNI FERRINI and 
possibly DOMENICO DEL MELA), becoming a trademark that clearly identified his instruments over all others. 

In 1709 the prominent scholar-poet Marchese SCIPIONE MAFFEI, along with Antonio Villisner and Apostolo Zeno, 
visited Prince Ferdinando in Florence to solicit monetary support for a Giornale de ' letterati d ' Italia. During their stay at the 
Medici court they saw Cristofori's workshop and were significantly impressed by his craftsmanship and in particular by his 
new invention — the pianoforte. Later in 171 1 Maffei published an article in volume 5 of the Giornale (article 9) titled "Nuova 
Invenzione d'un Gravecembalo col Piano, e forte; aggiunte alcune considerazioni sopra gli strumenti musicali" ("New 
Invention of a Harpsichord, with Piano and Forte; Also Some Remarks upon Musical Instruments"), which thoroughly and 
articulately described the new instrument. Further, it included a rough sketch/diagram of the internal workings of the piano 
action (see Fig. 30). Maffei exclaimed, "So bold an invention has been no less happily conceived than executed in Florence, 
by Signor Bartolomeo Cristofali, of Padua, harpsichord player.... He has already made three of the usual size of other 
harpsichords, and they have all succeeded to perfection. The production of greater or less sound depends on the degree of power 
with which the player presses on the keys, by regulating which, not only the piano and forte are heard, but also the gradations 
and diversity of power, as in a violoncello." 

Later in the same text he mentions a fourth piano, "This invention has also been effected in another form, the inventor 
having made another harpsichord, with the piano and forte, in a different and somewhat more simple shape; but, nevertheless, 
the first has been more approved." This information, along with a detailed explanation of the diagram, was published in 
Venice in 1711. 

It was very likely that many of the newly created pianofortes by Cristofori were located in his Uffizi Palace workshop in 
Florence prior to 1711. Therefore, Handel possibly knew of them and even may have played one while he was in residence at 
the Medici court, composing and producing his opera, Rodrigo, in 1707. Also, DOMENICO SCARLATTI visited Florence in 
1702 and 1705, where he probably first heard of and tried the instruments. Scarlatti's patroness, Queen Maria Barbara of 
Spain, owned five Florentine pianofortes. One or more of these was certainly built by Cristofori and at least one of the others 
was constructed in 1730 by Ferrini. 

Prince Ferdinando died on 13 October 1713 but Cristofori remained in the service of the Medici family as instrument 
maker. Three years after Ferdinando's death the reigning Grand Duke Cosimo III, who had little or no interest in music 
himself, appointed Cristofori custode (steward) of the musical instruments of his deceased son. As ordered by Cosimo, 
Cristofori prepared an inventory of Medici instruments in 1716. The 1716 inventory of these instruments listed some 159 items, 
of which 48 were keyboard instruments by Giovanni Antonio Baffo, Domenico da Pesaro, Girolamo Zenti, Giuseppe 
Mondini, and Cristofori. Included were 20 harpsichords, 16 spinets, 3 clavichords, 2 small organs, and 3 organs with various 
combinations. It is somewhat baffling that the pianofortes of Cristofori, which were usually referred to as col piano e forte, 
are not listed in this inventory, nor in a subsequent inventory of 1732. However, it is very possible that these particular 
instruments had been either sold outright or were located elsewhere on or outside the Medici grounds; therefore, they were 
not included in the survey. Furthermore, the document of verification that certifies Cristofori's acceptance of the inventory 

Makers i 


contains several examples of his name: Cristofori, Cristofari, Cristofali, and Cristofani. It is also possible to find his name 
spelled Cristofoli and even Bortolo Padovano in other sources. 

In addition to his duties as conservator and builder of instruments, Cristofori continued to experiment with hammer-action 

While it is not certain exactly how many pianos Cristofori actually built during his lifetime, some sources claim that by 
1726 he had already completed twenty of them. However, only three pianos made by Cristofori are today extant: the first, 
dated 1720, originally belonged to Signora Ernesta Mocenni Martelli of Florence and was acquired in 1895 by Mrs. J.Crosby 
Brown of New York for presentation to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where it now resides; the second, 
from 1722, was originally from Padua and is now located in the Museo degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome; the third, from 
1726, was formerly in a Florence museum owned by Commendatore Alessandro Kraus but is now housed in the 
Musikinstrumenten-Museum of the University of Leipzig. An examination of the three existing pianos from the 1720s clearly 
indicates that Cristofori continued to gradually develop, modify, and experiment with each succeeding generation of 
instrument. By comparing Maffei's action description and engraving of 1711 in the Giomale to the extant pianos, it may be 
concluded that sometime between 1709 and 1720 Cristofori dramatically altered and renovated the piano action. For example, 
both the escapement lever (jack) and the back-check mechanism were relocated onto the key lever (see Fig. 32). The thick 
intermediate lever found in the earlier piano action was removed and replaced with a much thinner and narrower lever, 
anchored with a leather hinge at the far end of the key lever, midway between the KEYBED and the hammer shank. These 
instruments were built in such a manner that they fitted into an outer case in the style of the Italian haipsichord; but while the 
early pianofortes may very well have resembled harpsichords externally, they were in fact totally new instruments internally. 

The 1 720 piano was the result of much experimentation (see fig. 32). Additional keyboard and hammer action alterations were 
made after Cristofori 's death and still later in 1875 by Cesare Ponsicchi in Florence and in 1938 by Curt Sachs at the New 
York Metropolitan Museum. As a result, it is extremely difficult to determine the precise original design of the instrument. 
Stewart Pollens's examination of this instrument in 1977 shed a great deal of light on the problem by revealing that originally 
the instrument had a keyboard range of fifty-four keys, extending from FF to c 3 with FF # and GG # being omitted; the present 
range of C to f 3 was an obvious alteration. The other two extant pianos have a keyboard range of only four octaves (forty-nine 
keys). However, the most incontestable and dramatic change of design in the 1720 instrument was Cristofori's utilization of a 
noninverted wrest plank. The reason for not inverting the plank was that it could be safely constructed at a thickness of thirty 
millimeters, so as to ensure that the pins remained more or less seated and secure. Also, with a noninverted plank the dampers 
were now relocated above the strings, allowing for a more efficient mechanism using gravitational weight, as opposed to the 
previous design, which approached the strings from below. But with the noninverted plank design, when the piano wires were 
struck by the hammers, the vibrations tended to move the strings away from both the nut and the pin, which in effect put the 
instrument out of tune. 

Maffei claimed that prior to 1711 Cristofori had built several pianos all with inverted wrest planks, and both the 1722 and 
the 1726 pianos are in the inverted wrest-plank form. One excellent reason for using an inverted wrest-plank design in the 
first place was that due to the constant impact of the hammers against the strings the piano wires were forced up toward the 
DOWNBEARING point (nut), thereby preventing excessive wire tension or movement on the pin. Also, the inverted design 
allowed space for an UNA CORDA stop. This particular stop made it possible to shift all hammers horizontally from a double 
to a single string unison, significantly altering the sound of the instrument. On the other hand, one of the disadvantages of the 
inverted plank design was that this unique arrangement greatly restricted the amount of space available for action parts, 
particularly the distance from the top of the hammer action assembly to the bottom surface of the string. Worse yet, the 
inverted construction required that the wrest plank itself be trimmed by one -half its original thickness to fifteen millimeters in 
order to have room to position the strings directly above the hammer action. Furthermore, due to the lack of space, a suitable 
damper mechanism simply had to be located beneath the strings, on an independent key lever. Nevertheless, Cristofori did 
continue to use the inverted wrest plank design with both the 1722 and the 1726 extant pianos. 

A great deal of controversy was generated by the claim that Cristofori had, in fact, invented the first piano. From the first 
quarter of the eighteenth century, three builders stand out as probable candidates to chal lenge Cristofori. First, there was 
JEAN MARIUS, a French manufacturer, who submitted four plans for clavecins a maillets (hammer harpsichords) for 
examination to the Academie des Sciences in February 1716; then GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN of Freiberg in Saxony, who 
apparently read about Cristofori's invention in the second volume of the Critica Musica, published by Johann Mattheson in 
1725 in Hamburg. Maffei's article had been translated into German by Mattheson' s friend, Johann Ulrich Konig, who was 
poet of the Dresden court. By 1732 Silbermann had built his first two pianos, which were followed later by many others. And 
finally, CHRISTOPH GOTTLIEB SCHROTER, born in Hohenstein in Saxony, constructed a model of a pianoforte that was 
exhibited at the court in Dresden in 1721. Alfred Hipkins doubts that Marius ever made a pianoforte, and is certain that 
Schroter never did. He further states that "by proof I have been able to bring forward that Frederick the Great's Silbermann 
pianos at Potsdam are copies which still exist of the Cristofori pianos. There is no other claim either English, French, or German 
that is now to be seriously considered." 


At least in Italy Cristofori's instrument was not successful and was not produced in any quantity until after 1900. Shortly after 
Cristofori's death the instrument became the object of harsh criticism. In 1755 the Italian builder Giovanni Zempel 
disapproved of the pianoforte for "the insufferable noise made by the keys, the levers, and the hammers." And ironically 
enough, two pianos made by Cristofori (or possibly Ferrini), which were sold to Queen Maria Barbara of Spain prior to 1756, 
were finally changed back into harpsichords. In 1774 Voltaire wrote: "the piano is nothing but a smith's instrument 
(instrument de Chaudronnier) in comparison to the magnificent harpsichord." And generally speaking, music for keyboard 
fell out of favor in Italy for the remainder of the eighteenth century. 

Nonetheless, Cristofori's influence and reputation spread into Germany through translations and quotations of Maffei's 
article in numerous journals, among them JAKOB ADLUNG'S Musica Mechanica Organoedi, (Berlin, 1768) and in Johann 
Gottfried Walther's Musikalisches Lexikon (Leipzig, 1732). Consequently, in Germany the pianoforte created great interest 
and was enthusiastically received and manufactured. A serious impetus for piano making was initiated by both Silbermann of 
Saxony and Schroter of Dresden. 

A memorial plaque honoring Cristofori, with the inscription: "A Bartolomeo Cristofori/Cembalaro da Padova/Che/in 
Firenze/Nell Anno MDCCXI/ Invento/II/Clavicembalo Col Piano E Forte/II/ Comitato Fiorentino/Cooperanti Italiani E 
Stranieri/Pose Questa Memoria/MDCCCLXXVI," was placed in the walkway of the Church of Santa Croce on 7 May 1876. 
For the same event a medal was created from drawings by P.Cavotis, modeled by A.Bertone and engraved by L.Gori. A 
painting of Cristofori from 1726, owned by Berlin State Music Instrument Society, was discovered by Schiinemann in 1934. 
Aside from its aesthetic value, the painting is important because it also contains a sketch of his improved piano action. 

It was nearly a century before Cristofori's invention was preceptibly altered. With the creation of his improved 1726 
pianoforte, all the basic mechanical components of a modern piano action were in place: the extended leverage, the 
escapement, the back-check mechanism, the damper system, and the una corda. Furthermore, the basic FRAME of the 
traditional harpsichord, which had been structurally altered, reinforced, and expanded to sustain greater string tension, had 
been transformed into a completely different medium. Nearly all vestiges of the traditional harpsichord design were mere 
shadows in the wake of the newly invented creation — the "soft and loud" of Cristofori. 

See also Giovanni, Ferrini 




Adlung, Jakob. Musica Mechanica Organoedi. Berlin: F.W. Birnstiel, 1768. 

Blum l-ricdrich. Die Mitsik in < < II i \lusik 15 vols. Kassel and Basel: Barenreiter, 


Casella, Alfredo. E Pianoforte. Milan: Tumminelli and Co., 1954. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers: A Comprehensive History oj the Development oj the Piano from the Monoehord to the Concert 
Grand Player Piano. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911; New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1972. 

Gai, Vinicio. ed. Gli strumenti musicali della corte medicea e il Museo del Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini di Firenze. Cenni storici e 
catologo descrittivo. Presentazione di Antonio Veretti. Firenze: Licosa, 1969. 

Hipkins, Alfred, J. A Description and History oj the Piano/or and ah the Older Keyboard Stunned Instruments. Reprint Detroit: Detroit 
Reprints in Music, 1975. 

1 n 1 t. i i W / n n 1 1 Ii , , niiog. Vol 1. Besaitete Tasteninstrumente, Orgeln und 

i i i 1 ii Cologne. 1910 

.Vlattheson. Johann. Critiea MuCtea. Hamburg: Auf unkosten ties autoris, 1722-25. 
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1980. 

O'Brien, Michael Kent. "Bartolomeo Cristofori at Court in Late Medici Florence." PhD. diss., The Catholic University of America, 
Washington D.C., 1994. 

Ponsicchi, Ccsare. II Pianoforte, sua origine e sviluppo. Firenze: Presso G.Guidi Editore Di Musica, 1876. 
Walther, Johann Gottfried. Musikalisches Lexikon. Leipzig: W. Deer, 1732; Kassel: Barenreiter, 2001. 


Fabbri, Mario. "7/primo 'pianoforte' di Bartolomeo Cristofori." Chigiana Rassegna Annuale di Studi Musicologici 21 (1964): 162-72. 
Greenfield, Jack. "Cristofori's Initial Piano Design." Piano Technicians Journal 28 (Sept. 1985): 22-4. 

— ."Cristofori's Soundboard Design: Cristofori Becomes Curator of Medici Instrument Collection." Piano Technicians Journal 28 (Oct. 
1985): 21-3. 


— ."Cristofori's Last Work and His Successors." Piano Technicians Journal 28 (Dec. 1985): 15-7. 

Maffei, Scipione. "Nuova invenzione d'un Gravecembalo col piano, e forte; aggiunte alcune considerazioni sopra gli strumenti musicali." 

Giornale de ' Letterati d Italia 2(1711): 1 44-59. 
Montanari, Giuliana. "Bartolomeo Cristofori." Early Music 19 (August 1991): 383-96. 

Pollens, Stewart. "The Pianos of Bartolomeo Cristofori." Journal of th eAmeric an Musical Instrument Society 10 (1984); 32-68. 
Tagliavini, Luigi Ferdinando. "Giovanni Ferrini and His Harpsichord 'a Penne e a Martelletti.'" Early Music 19 (August 1991): 399-408. 

Cross-strung or cross-stringing usually refers to the STRING layout of the modern piano, in which the bass strings cross 
over others to the center of the SOUNDBOARD to create a more powerful sound. This principle is more correctly termed 

However, cross-strung has also been used specifically to designate a method of stringing in which a double length of 
WIRE crosses over itself as it is looped around the HITCH PIN to return to another TUNING PIN. 
See also Overstrung 



New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1984. 

Crown refers to the curvature of the piano SOUNDBOARD. Much like a violin, the piano soundboard is curved outward 
toward the STRINGS. This curvature is set so as to allow the strings to set firmly upon the BRIDGES. Until the mid- 
nineteenth century, many piano soundboards were made with no crown, but the curved soundboard was found necessary to 
support the increased downward pressure of the heavier modern strings. 

See also Downbearing; Soundboard 



In 1860 the New York piano firm of Lindeman and Son introduced a style of piano that they called the Cycloid Grand. It 
was essentially like the large American SQUARE PIANOS of the time, but with the back of the CASE rounded to a wide arc. 
Supported by three legs, one at each of the front corners and a third at the center of the rounded back, the rounded design was 
apparently meant to create an instrument that was visually suited for placement in the center of a room. The action employed 
was the same single-ESCAPEMENT- action type used in most square pianos of the time. Lindeman was the only company to 
produce the Cycloid Grand, probably owing to the PATENT (U.S. no. 29,502) that was secured on the design 9 August 1860 
by Hermann Lindeman, not his father William Lindeman (1795-1875), as stated in Spillane. According to Groce, it was 
William's son Henry Lindeman (b. 1838) who invented the Cycloid Grand. 

The Cycloid Grand was briefly mentioned in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on 21 January 1865, followed by a 
lengthy article on 14 October of the same year. The article indicates that a Cycloid Grand was exhibited at the "Fair of the 
American Institute" and goes on to say that the Lindeman factory had been enlarged specifically to meet the great demand for 
this new style of instrument. American pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk is said to have tested and approved of the instrument, 
calling it the "finest of the square class." Leslie 's also explains in some detail the advantages of the Cycloid' s framing system 
and remarks at how well the instrument stays in tune. 



Groce, Nancy. Musical Instrument Makers of New York : A Directory of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Urban Craftsmen. 

Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1991. 
Loest, Roland. "The Museum Collection — Two Oddities: Cocked-Hat and Cycloid Grands." Museum of the American Piano Newsletter. 

no. 8 (April- June 1990). 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte. New York: D.Spillane, 1 890. Reprint: New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Of the pianos presently made in Czechoslovakia — Petrof, Weinbach, Rosier, and Scholze — Petrof dominates as the country's 
finest instrument for use in con cert halls and as an export-quality instrument. Weinbach, Rosier, and Scholze are concerned with 
the production of UPRIGHTS, whereas the building of GRAND PIANOS has always been central to the Petrof tradition. 
Scholze was founded in 1876 in Warnsdorf, Georgswalde, and moved to Liberec-Ruprechtice in 1949. Weinbach was 
founded in 1884, also in Georgswalde. 


Antonin Petrof (b. 1838 in Koniggratz; d. 1915) trained as a carpenter in his father's business. In 1857 he moved to Vienna, 
where he served his apprenticeship with his uncle, Johann Heitzmann, a piano manufacturer. Petrof then worked for EHRBAR 
and for SCHWEIGHOFER. In 1864 Antoni n Petr of foun ded Petrof factory in Koniggratz (Hradec Kralove), building his 
first piano with a Viennese ACTION. He traveled and collected innovative ideas and technical improvements. In 1875 he 
used a cast-iron FRAME and developed a new type of repetition mechanics based on the English model. In 1880 he began 
building upright pianos. By the turn of the century Petrof had sold some 13,000 units through agencies in his own country as 
well as in London (1918), Vienna (1895), and Hungary (1877). Shortly before his death Antonin divided the firm among his 
three sons: Jan, Antonin , and Vladimir. Up to 1915, the year of Antonin's death, 30,500 u had been sold. 

During World War I there was a fall in production, but in 1920-1922 Petrof exported to China and Australia. Because of its 
firmly established name, Petrof weathered the depression, and in 1932 the third generation — Dimitrij, Eduard, and Evzen — 
took over leadership of the company. World War II again interfered with sales, Petrof exporting to Sweden, Switzerland, and 

In 1948 the Petrof company was nationalized and in 1965 became part of Czechoslovak Musical Instruments Hradec 
Kralove. In 1966 upright production was moved to Liberec and Jihlava. A new assembly-line factory for the production of 
uprights was opened in Hradec Kralove in 1970. The Petrof plant produces annually about 10,500 uprights and 800 grand 
pianos, exporting to some seventy countries. In 1989 a new grand piano production line opened in Hradec Kralove and Petrof 
reached the serial number 450,000. Over the years the pianos have won many prizes including: 1877, Vienna; 1921, 
Barcelona; 1935, 1958, Brussels; 1937, Paris. 

Other makers have included Gartner, active in Tachau in 1763; Kalb, active in Prague around 1796; Johann and Thomas 
Still, active in Prague around 1796; Johann Joseph Muschel, active in Prague at the end of the eighteenth century; Johann 
Zelinka, active in Prague at the end of the eighteenth century; Michael Weiss, known around 1807 in Prague; Leicht, active in 
Pilsen in the nineteenth century; Meiners, active in Prague during the first quarter of the nineteenth century; A.Proksch, 
established 1864 in Reichenberg; Carl Spira, established 1892 in Reichenberg; Koch & Korselt, 1893-1920 in Reichenberg; 
Karl J.Baroitus, established 1898 in Prague; V.Novak, ca. 1900-ca. 1910; Protze & Company, founded 1905 in Georgswalde; 
and Fibich, 1949-1960 in Jihlava (Iglau). 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina,' Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Olten: Graf, 1955. 

Joppig, Gunther. "Petrof — der Begriinder der tschechischen Klavierbauschule" (Petrof- founder of the Czech school of piano construction). 
Das Musikinstrument 11 (November 1987): 49-54. 



A damper is an ACTION-related part that control damping of a STRING'S vibration. The damper is a small wooden block 
with an attached FELT pad that comes in direct contact with the string. Without a damper system the strings would continue 
to vibrate freely, without any tonal control. The damper is activated (lifted from the string) whenever the DAMPER PEDAL 
is depressed or when a KEY is depressed. Dampers can act either together or separately: the damper pedal lifts all of the 
dampers, whereas an individual key controls its own damper. 

See also Pedals and Stops 



The damper pedal is usually the right pedal, which raises all of the DAMPERS from the STRINGS. In some eighteenth-century 
SQUARES, dampers were raised by hand stops, and in German pianos of the same time, knee levers served the same function. 
See also Pedals and Stops 



Starting as a foreman, Alexandre -Francois Debain established his own factory in Paris in 1834. In 1836 he received a 
French PATENT for a metal FRAME in a single casting — although Alpheus Babcock in Boston had already procured a 
patent in 1825 for the invention of the one-piece metal frame. In 1836 Debain also patented the forged iron frame in a 
diminutive folding UPRIGHT, called piano-ecran (fire screen piano; 3'5"x 3'3"x7" closed). In 1842 Debain started 
manufacturing an instrument he called the harmonium. It was a free-reed KEYBOARD instrument, already existing in its 
primitive form, but Debain insisted on calling it orgue expressif, since he added the mechanical grand jeu and the expression 
stop to the original designs. In 1846 he invented the clavi-harmonium, a COMBINATION of piano and harmonium. In this 
instrument a piano was fitted with a second KEYFRAME and played by pumping the air-levers with the knees, to free the 
feet for piano PEDALS. Sounds were produced by vibrating spring reeds. In the same year Debain patented the antiphonel 
and in 1 848 its perfected form, the piano mecanique, capable of mechanical reproduction of music by means of a second set 
of HAMMERS and springs fitted to a COTTAGE PIANO. The piano mecanique was shown at the Great Industrial Exhibition 
in 1851 in London and was described as being capable of replacing the organ and harmonium in churches, while being less 



Debain, Alexandre-Francois. Antiphonal-harmonium suppliant de I'organiste. Paris, 1873. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni versity Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham, 1978. 
The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Debain, Alexandre-Francois"; "Mechanical 

Instrument"; "Harmonium." London: Macmillan, 1980. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Player Piano. London: Allen & Unwin, 1970. 

Pierre, Constant. Les Facteurs <l 'instruments de wash/in: k>s lutliicrs ei la faciure insmmwntale. Paris: E.Sagot, 1893. 
Pole. W illiam Musical Instruments in the Great Industrial Exhibition of 1851. London, 1851. 

The Decker Brothers Piano Company was founded in New York City in 1862 by two brothers, David and John Jacob 
Decker, who had learned piano building in Germany before immigrating to the United States. In addition to being skilled 
craftsmen, the brothers were also inventors and skilled SCALE designers, who controlled numerous PATENTS for 


innovations and improvements in their instruments. Although this company was described in 1890 by Spillane as a "large and 
leading house devoted to the production of first-class pianos," the company discontinued production in 1893. A Decker 
Brothers UPRIGHT PIANO equipped with a JANKO keyboard (invented in 1882) is preserved at the Smithsonian Institution 
in Washington, D.C. The Decker brothers were apparently not related to the American-born piano builder Myron Decker, who 
founded the successful company Decker and Sons, which manufactured pianos from 1856 to 1949. 



Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development and the Trade. New York: D. Spillane, 1 890. Reprint. New 

York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 
Good, Edwin M.Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
DEL MELA, DOMENICO (1683-ca. 1751) 

Domenico Del Mela (Gagliano Di Mugello, Florence), priest and school teacher in Gagliano, is considered by many as the 
inventor of the vertical pianoforte (a type that rises from a table). In 1739 he devised and constructed his first vertical piano, 
using the clavicytherium (vertical harpsichord) as a model. Del Mela followed the mechanical ideas and designs of 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI in building his instrument. Just six years later (1745) CHRISTIAN ERNST FRIEDERICI, 
the innovative instrument-maker from Gera, also built a vertical piano, again based on the clavicytherium. The Friederici 
instrument (now in the Musee Instrumental du Conservatoire Royale de Musique, Brussels) was shaped like a PYRAMID, 
had a triangular SOUNDBOARD, and was equipped with small doors that opened from the front. This instrument was based 
on a principle similar to that of Del Mela, that is, with retro-percussion of the HAMMER, but was clearly devised later than 
the one invented by Del Mela, who, as Ponsicchi emphasizes in his book, warrants being considered the true father of the 
vertical piano. 

The Del Mela piano consists of a solid wood rectangular supporting table with KEYBED bordered on three sides by a hand- 
worked FRAME with a band of trim beneath. The table has four curved legs that are reinforced by a turned column on one 
side and a plain column on the opposite side. A backdrop rises verti cally from the mobile table keybed. The pianoforte, in 
the proper sense of the word, is installed in the cabinet above this and consists of a soundboard CASE with an inserted 
KEYBOARD consisting of forty-five keys: twenty-seven of yellow wood with inlays on the front and eighteen black KEYS. 
In a small wood bar in front of the keyboard the following words have been carved: 
PINBLOCK/soundboard case there are (starting from the bass): 135 TUNING PINS with respective STRINGS (three for each 
key), the PRESSURE BAR on which the strings rest from below, a finely worked horizontal trim covering the point at which 
the strings are struck, a pierced rosette with a fine inlaid decoration around the edge, the BRIDGE (which rises diagonally 
from the right to left and upon which the strings rest), a red cloth strip, and the HITCH PINS for fastening the strings from 

The instrument Del Mela built can presently be seen in the Museum of the Luigi Cherubini Conservatory in Florence. It 
was purchased by the museum in 1928 from a descendant of the builder, Ugo Del Mela. This unique example is one of the 
most interesting and famous articles housed in the Florentine collection. It is not playable at the present time, as it is in need 
of repair. In order for the instrument to function as Del Mela intended, proper RESTORATION is in order. Despite its 
condition it still is able to offer a clear image of its mechanical components and structure (see Fig. 33). 

Of interest are the upright garland-shaped framework with an upper turn, perpendicular to the keyboard, and the jointed 
handles, which allow the instrument as such to be separated from the table on which it rests. The measurements of the Del Mela 
instrument are furnished in Vinicio Gai's book. The latest analyses and measurements of the instrument were made in the 
summer of 1989 by Stewart Pollens (conservator of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Donatella Degiampietro 

As for the action, Ponsicchi describes it as follows: 

The keyboard and the action. . .consist of a key with axis at 2/3 of the length (which obliged the maker to lighten it at the 
front and add lead at the back for agile movement), a jack-type rod channeled into two jack guides to bring the 
movement to the desired height, and two roller levers constituting the mechanical movement. 

The first lever is connected to the rod, which we will call the JACK, the other is free in its action but guided into the 
first by a thick arched brass WIRE, as later used by ERARD. The first lever, besides being connected to the jack, is 
joined to it by another device similar to an arc, serving to brake the thrust. 


Fig 33. Upright Pianoforte (1739) by Domcnico Del Mela in the Instrument Collection of the Conservatory of Music "Luigi Cherubini" in 
Florence. (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York] agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 

After the thrust is applied to the key, the jack pushes the first lever and makes it describe part of an arc of a circle; 
when the desired movement has reached maximum, the LEATHER-covered end of the jack touches the arc of the roller 
and is stopped. 

The second lever, operating as a hammer and previously resting on the first lever, is transported by the movement oft 
he latter and sent directly with its long head onto the strings making them vibrate. A damper spring, acting on the roller, 
pushes the second lever back to rest again on the first. Note that the first lever, with its rotatory movement, hooks onto 
the damper located on the corner of the action RAIL, and during this movement it is detached from the string to return 
to its position when the player's finger is lifted from the key. Considered as a whole, two essential things are lacking in 
this mechanism: the LET-OFF and the BACK CHECK, which, applied earlier by Cristofori, were not restored until the 
end of the last century and very ably by Erard. 

In addition, the unusualness of wanting to strike the strings from the back resulted in very remote action and it was 
necessary to give the hammer its curious form, thereby producing an oscillating action. 

(See Fig. 34.) 

In the same museum one can also see a wind instrument that unfortunately does not bear the maker's name; the museum 
catalog describes it as a bass clarinet and reports that it was found in Del Mela's house when the Musical Institute of Florence 
purchased his vertical pianoforte of 1739. Arnaldo Bonaventura attributed the instrument to Del Mela but up to the present 
this has not been proven. 

310 nr ^^TT m 

Fig. 34. Vertical (Upright) Pianoforte Action by Domenico Del Mela, 1739 (Courtesy of Vinicio Gai's Gli strumenti musicali delta carte 
Medicea... Firenze: Licosa, 1970) 

Even if little remains regarding Del Mela's craftsmanship, it is certain that he is an important figure in the evolution of 
keyboard instruments. His masterful intuition contributed greatly to broadening the possibilities of the "gravecembalo col 
piano e forte," first invented by his illustrious predecessor Cristofori. 



Bonaventura, Arnaldo. "Domenico Del Mela e il primo pianoforte verticale." Bollettino delta Societd Mugellana di studi storici 4 (1928): 

Conscnalorio di Musica "Luigi Cherubini." Amichi struiiienti Colkzioiw dei Medici c dei Lorena. Firenze: Giunti-Barbera, 1981. 
Fabbri, Mario. L 'Alba del pianoforte — verit d stori ca su lla cita del primo cembalo a martelletti. Milano: Nuove edizioni Milano, 1968. 
Gai, Vinicio. "Note storiche e descrittive sul piu antico pianoforte verticale costruito da Domenico Del Mela." La Zagalia (Lecce) 40 
(1968): 3-11. 

. 67/ ttrunwnti musicali (Mia cane Medicea e il Musea del Couservarorio "Luigi Cherubim " di i'iren ze. Firenze: Licosa, 1970. 
Lamanna, Chiara Irene. La storia del pianoforte dalle origin i a I ' "Oil. Brindisi: Schena. 1984. 
Pollens, Stewart. "An Upright Pianoforte b\ Domenico del Mela." Galpin Society Journal 45 (March 1992): 22-28. 
Ponsicchi, Cesare. "II primo pianoforte verticale." La Nuova Musica .24 ( December 1897): 3. 
Schmidl, Carlo. Dizionario universale dei musicisti. Vol. 1. Milano: Sonzogno, 1926. 
DETTMER, GEORGE W. AND SON (fl. ca. 1805-1849) 

George W.Dettmer was a London piano maker who is known to have been in partnership with his son William during the 
second decade of the nineteenth century. Their earliest known address was 50 Upper Marylebone Street, Fitzroy Square. 
William Dettmer remained at this address for many years but was located at 60 Warren Street from 1846 to 1848. Harding 
lists the firm in Clipstone Street in 1848-1849. Their earliest extant instruments, which have been dated from about 1810 to 


1815, are finely crafted of mahogany with a compass of five-and-a-half octaves. Another SQUARE from the mid-1820s has a 
six-and-a-half octave compass. 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1, 1 700- 1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. 
.Makers of the Piano. Vol. 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Harding, Rosamond, E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933; 2d rev. ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Dip is the term used to describe the total distance the KEY travels from its full up position to the fully depressed position. 
Manufacturers usually specify from .375" to .428". 
See also Regulation; Touchweight 



Disklavier is the YAMAHA Corporation trade name for a REPRODUCING PIANO that combines a Yamaha conventional 
piano with the full range of MIDI technology. Fiber-optic sensors convert all performance information — notes, duration, 
KEY velocity, and PEDAL movements — into digital data. These data are stored in an onboard sequencer and can be edited 
and/or saved to a 3.5-inch floppy disc. Playback operation utilizes a sophisticated solenoid system that reproduces the 
movements of the keys and pedals in complete detail. Available in the United States since 1988, the Disklavier has been used 
in significant creative, educational, archival, and other research applications. The Disklavier Mark II and IIXG series 
incorporate a fully implemented multitimbral synthesizer. The Disklavier is available in a 50-inch UPRIGHT model as well 
as GRANDS of 5-feet 3-inches, 5-feet 7-inches, 6-feet, 7-feet 6-inches, and the ultra-high-end Disklavier Pro 2000. The 
Pianosoft Library is a collection of recordings of performances by leading classical and popular artists for playback on any 
Disklavier piano. 



Data from Yamaha Corporation, Hamamatsu, Japan, and Yamaha website. 

The Ditanaklasis (also "Dittanaclasis" or Ditalelo-clange"), one of the earliest UPRIGHTS constructed (with FRAME to 
floor), was invented by the Viennese builder MATTHIAS MULLER in 1800. JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS of Philadelphia also 
built an upright (with frame to floor) at this same time and thus shares the credit with Miiller for producing the first upright 
piano whose frame was not placed on a table but rather rested on the floor. The first Ditanaklasis built by Miiller had two 
KEYBOARDS for two players (vis-a-vis), but in 1803 he built a cheaper model with one keyboard. The sound of the 
Ditanaklasis, whose STRINGS were struck close to the middle of the vibrating length, was said to be similar to the sound of 
the basset horn. 



Fischhof, Joseph. Versuch einer Geschichte des Clavierbaues. Wien: Wallishausser, 1853. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed: Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Haupt, Helga. "Wiener Instrumentenbauer von 1791-1815." Studien zur Musikwissenschajt. Vol. 24. Edited by Erich Schenk. Wien-Graz- 
Koln: Bohlau, 1960. 
DOLGE, ALFRED (1848-1922) 

Alfred Dolge was an American entrepreneur, a manufacturer of piano FELTS and SOUNDBOARDS, and author. Born in 
Leipzig, Dolge emigrated to the United States in 1866 and worked for two years (1867-1869) for 
FREDERICK MATHUSHEK, then set up in New York as an importer and later as a maker of hammer felts. Maintaining a 
supply house on East Thirteenth Street, New York City, he established in 1874 a large factory for felts and soundboards at 
Brockett's Bridge, New York (renamed Dolgeville in 1887). The company incorporated innovative ideas of worker 
compensation and pensions. Bankrupted in 1898, Dolge moved to California, at first growing oranges and grapes and later 

I in 

making felt and soundboards in Dolgeville, California. In 1911 and 1913 he published the two volumes of Pianos and Their 
Makers, remarkably accurate accounts of piano history and technology. 

Dolge PATENTED a hammer-covering machine in 1887 and improved it in 1910. He was an early entrant in the business 
of supplying parts, such as HAMMERS, soundboards, and CASES, to manufacturers. His books described the people in the 
piano industry generously, though he opposed "stencilling," in the interests of high-quality instruments. His Pianos and Their 
Makers praised the development of the PLAYER PIANO and accurately predicted its later success. 

See also Patent 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

. Pianos and Their Makers, Vol. 2. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Company, 1913. Reprint as Men Who Have Made Piano 

History. Vestal, NY.: Vestal Press, 1980. 
Franz, Eleanor. Dolge. Herkimer, NY.: Herkimer County Historical Society, 1980. 




Downbearing is the term used for the force with which the STRINGS press upon the BRIDGE. This is determined by the 
height of the strings in relation to the height of the bridges. Downbearing will be reduced if the SOUNDBOARD loses its 
CROWN. Both excessive and insufficient downbearing affect the clarity of TONE. 




Drop is the term that describes the amount that a HAMMER will drop, or move away from the STRING after LET-OFF 
occurs. Drop is normally set at one-sixteenth inch below the point of let-off, though this can vary depending on a manufacturer's 
specifications or the requirements for a specific performance. While commonly called drop, this adjustment is more accurately 
described as the BALANCIER let-off and performs the same function for the balancier as the let-off button performs for the 
JACK tender. 

Drop must be present so that the WIPPEN does not cause the hammer to block against the string; it is also required for 
efficient repetition. In a well-regulated grand ACTION, the jack makes contact with the let-off button at the same time that 
the repetition arm makes contact with the drop screw. 

See also Regulation; Touchweight 



Duo-Art was the name given to the REPRODUCING PIANO marketed by the AEOLIAN Company. Developed from the 
PIANOLA and originally called the Aeolian Duo-Art Pianola, it was introduced during the autumn of 1913. 

The Duo-Art was not so much a piano as a reproducing mechanism, which was available to be installed in a number of 
Aeolian's range of instruments and in three distinct forms. Cheapest was the foot-operated UPRIGHT instrument, which was 
pedaled like an ordinary Pianola and offered a rather basic performance from the special reproducing music rolls. Then came 
the all-electric uprights and, third, the GRAND or concert instruments. In 1924 this last variety came with the Aeolian grand 
at $1,850, the Steck from $2,085 to $3,000, and the STEINWAY, with a choice of three models at prices from $3,875 to $4, 

Unlike the rival and contemporary AMPICO, every Duo-Art installation tended to be an individual or hand-built model, 
and minor varieties are numerous, especially in Britain where a further category of Duo-Art was extremely popular. This was 
the "pedal-electric" model, which could be foot-operated like a Pianola or run automatically by electricity. 

Early Duo-Art actions used graded pneumatic motors, the largest being used at the bass and the smallest at the treble. Soon 
though, the economics of this expensive manufacturing procedure necessitated that all the pneumatic motors be of one 
optimum size. 

The Duo-Art reproducing system is an extension of the Aeolian Themodist system invented by James William Crooks of 
Boston, Massachusetts, in 1900. Throughout its production life the Duo-Art system remained largely unchanged, but in July of 
1931, as a result of the Great Depression, Aeolian was forced to merge with its rival, the AMERICAN PIANO COMPANY, 


makers of the Ampico reproducing piano. Subsequently, certain features became common to both systems, in particular the 
placing of the player mechanism and music roll in a special drawer under the KEYBED instead of the entire ACTION being 
placed above the KEYBOARD. Duo-Art production ceased in America sometime around 1935, but in London, where the 
Aeolian Company Limited operated as a separate entity, developments continued until several years later; nevertheless, by 
1936 all but custom-order production had stopped. 

The last stage of Duo-Art development was carried out in London during the mid- 1930s by Aeolian' s London inventor, 
Gordon lies. lies devoted considerable research into developing what he called "isolated instantaneous theme" (1ST) which, in 
his opinion, would mark the absolute perfection of the reproducing system. The tracker-bar over which the music roll passed 
had two very closely spaced rows of openings, each connected to a separate valve stack. While the mechanism would also 
play ordinary Duo-Art rolls, when specially cut rolls were used the performance was dramatically enhanced. Two Steinway 
grand pianos were experimentally fitted with the 1ST action in 1939; one was destroyed during air raids early in World War II 
and the second has disappeared. The present author possesses part of an lies twin-cut tracker bar. 



Bowers, Q.David. Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments. Vestal, N.Y. Vestal Press, 1972. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola — History & Development .... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America , 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

This name usually refers to pianos with a second KEYBOARD opposite the first. This type of vis-a-vis piano seems to have 
been introduced in 1800 by MATTHIAS MULLER with the DITANAKLASIS: two small UPRIGHT PIANOS joined back- 
to-back. SEBASTIEN ERARD introduced his piano secretaire in 1812, to which a second and opposite keyboard could be 
added. That very year Erard presented a variant: this piano consisted of a cylindrical column with two opposite keyboards. In 
1821 the same firm PATENTED a duoclave SQUARE PIANO. 

Other builders worked along the same ideas: Jean-Baptiste Chan-eye (1825), E. Dodd (1840), Francois Van der Cruysse 
(1850). James Pirsson of New York built two opposed GRAND PIANOS enclosed in an oblong CASE in 1850. 

See also Unusual Pianos 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed., Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham, 1978. 

Duplex scaling design permits a section of the STRING to vibrate in sympathy with the section struck by the HAMMER. This 
string section is generally between the treble BRIDGE and the ALIQUOT, a metal ridge just before the HITCH PIN. The 
aliquot may in some designs be moved to tune the duplex scale. Theodore STEINWAY first used the duplex scale in 1872. 
According to company literature, it "imparts more color to the fundamental tone by the addition of harmonic partial tones" 
(see Fig. 22). 




It is a fundamental precept of the early music movement that instrumental music should be performed on instruments of 
appropriate period and type. Use of the early piano is not, however, universally accepted. This situation arises from a number 
of causes. Many great piano works form an essential part of the current piano repertoire and have acquired a long and valid 
tradition of concert hall performances given on the modern piano. Within this tradition, even works dating from the eighteenth 
and early nineteenth centuries are not regarded as "early," and in consequence are seldom thought of in terms of pianos of 
their own times. Performances of major works on early pianos are therefore rarely compared critically on equal terms with 
performances on the modern instrument. 

It is also popularly accepted that before the development of the modern instrument in about 1 860, all pianos were to some 
degree defective and merely essential steps in the evolution toward a perfected concert instrument. From this it follows that 
early pianos must necessarily be incapable of serving the demands of some of the greatest music of western culture. 
Nonetheless, during the second half of the twentieth century a number of distinguished performers and instrument makers 
successfully brought early pianos to the notice of audiences both in the concert hall and through the medium of 

As part of his attack on modern musical taste and the promotion of early music at the end of the nineteenth century, Arnold 
Dolmetsch in 1894 began the construction of a group of six clavichords. These notable instruments were based closely on the 
designs and construction techniques of clavichords made by the Hass family in the second half of the eighteenth century in 
Hamburg. They mark the beginning of the modern revival of early keyboard instrument making. 

In 1896 Dolmetsch's first harpsichord was exhibited in London followed by his first reproduction of an early piano in 
1898. In the latter instrument, Dolmetsch first demonstrated an inability to escape the influence of contemporary culture and 
technology, and a sense of his own creative superiority. His work was shaped by a Darwinian concept of musical instruments 
that, having originated in primitive types, then evolved stage by stage toward ultimate perfection. He saw earlier makers' 
achievements as interrupted evolutionary lines that he could take up once again and so achieve ideal forms. Rather than 
replication of an early instrument, Dolmetsch designed and built an entirely new form of piano of a type that had never 
previously existed. 

Dolmetsch's example founded a twentieth-century tradition of instrument making in Europe and America that remained 
influential at least until the 1960s. In their materials and construction methods, these instruments (principally harpsichords) 
drew on modern piano technology to a greater or lesser extent. The designs were often arbitrary and based on the personal 
opinions, tonal concepts, and prejudices of their makers, many of whom valued their own creative freedom and were reluctant 
as a matter of principle to copy another's work. Large numbers of modern harpsichords were built which departed radically 
from all historical precedent. The characteristic musical qualities of these instruments led in turn to the development of 
schools of playing which, like the instruments, had only tenuous links with historical practice. 

During the same period, the clavichord and early piano were generally neglected. This was due to a general lack of interest 
in the instruments and a failure to see any relevance to their repertoire and modern PERFORMANCE PRACTICE, even 
within the early music movement. When a clavichord was played, it was likely to be a derivative of Dolmetsch's later practice 
and not based on a historical prototype. Although the firm of Neupert introduced early model pianos to its catalog of new 
instruments in the 1920s, few were made. Only a small number of instrument makers and performers had experience of 
restored antique keyboard instruments and understood their musical qualities. Commonly they were regarded only as fragile 
relics of doubtful musical quality, mechanically and structurally unsound, and therefore unsuitable as models for replication. 

A change in these underlying attitudes came about through an increasing emphasis placed on concert hall performances and 
recordings of early music from the mid-1950s. Simultaneously there was a rapid growth in academic musicology and an 
increasing availability of accurate, critical editions of hitherto inaccessible music. This was supported by a growing awareness 
of museum and private COLLECTIONS of early instruments, particularly those in which specimens had been carefully 


restored to playing condition. A number of distinguished and influential performers in both America and Europe saw the 
value and relevance of these instruments and were uncompromising in their use of antique or replica instruments in their own 
careers. At the same time, a small number of young builders began to experiment with the construction of new instruments 
closely derived from antique models. These included a number of pianos made by Hugh Gough in England based on an 
eighteenth-century instrument attributed to SCHIEDMEYER, and two models introduced in 1956 by Neupert to celebrate the 
bicentenary of MOZART's birth. 

This overall development received considerable extra impetus with the founding in 1965 of triennial harpsichord 
competitions at Bruges as part of the Flanders Festival. EXHIBITIONS of instruments accompanying the competition 
reflected the current state of manufacture and served as a forum for an exchange of opinion between performers and builders. 
Through successive exhibitions it was possible to trace the strong influence of a number of young builders whose faith in the 
work of past builders transformed the musical climate. Players were persuaded to adopt replicas of early models both as prime 
sources of musical and practical insight into early repertoires and also as instruments eminently suitable for concert use. 

The relationship between the earliest phases of development of the piano and music written especially for the instrument is 
not clear. CRISTOFORI and his pupil FERRINI'S work, although laying the foundations for all later developments, did not 
immediately generate an important repertoire making use of the instrument's particular resources. Although a considerable 
number of such instruments appear to have been made, particularly in SPAIN and Portugal, they do not seem to have been 
universally popular. It is notable that some harpsichords in Queen Maria Barbara's collection had been converted from 
pianos, even though it seems likely that her music master DOMENICO SCARLATTI had written at least some of his 
keyboard sonatas for the piano. 

In GERMANY, GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN and his nephew Johann Heinrich Silbermann both made fine pianos from 
the 1730s until at least the 1770s. Their work was based closely on Cristofori's instruments, particularly his elegant and 
ingenious ACTIONS. Again, a specific repertoire seems not to have been created, perhaps in this case due to the instruments' 
high cost and consequent rarity, and the popularity and resourcefulness of contemporary German clavichords. It seems 
unlikely that these pianos were ever made in large numbers. 

It is only in the 1770s that the piano finally became fully established and virtuoso keyboard player-composers began to 
commit themselves to the new instrument. Two distinct types of piano now emerge, each with their own musical 
characteristics. In London, a group of makers, refugees from the Seven Years War in Germany, developed a piano broadly 
based on Silbermann' s work, but which incorporated the materials and design principles of English harpsichords of the 
second half of the eighteenth century. Within a short time, large numbers of GRAND PIANOS were being built in London. 
The city's role as a haven for political refugees led indirectly to the establishment in Paris of a school of piano construction 
derived from London instruments. Particularly in London, composers such as CLEMENTI, Dussek, and Cramer wrote 
important works specifically for this type of instrument. 

Simultaneously, a different type of piano was being developed in southern Germany and in Austria. Its inventor was the 
organ, clavichord, and harpsichord maker Johann Andreas STEIN of Augsburg. Although structurally and acoustically 
derived from a central European building tradition typified by the Viennese harpsichord, the action was especially innovative. 
The instrument's musical and mechanical aesthetic appears to be more closely related to the clavichord than to the 
harpsichord. This and its extraordinary resourcefulness made it an obvious successor to the clavichord, and provided the one 
thing that the clavichord was unable to realize: sufficient volume for public concert use. 

Mozart's enthusiasm for Stein's instruments is well known, and his early success as a pianist in Vienna in the 1780s was 
based on his masterly use of a Stein piano. Inspired by this triumph, Viennese organ builders immediately began to copy 
Stein's instruments and to develop their own variants of his designs. The school they founded continued to rival French and 
English instruments strongly until the advent of the modern piano. 

A choice of early piano models for modern replication has been led by repertoire and the latter's place in modern concert 
life. This is, however, complicated by the speed with which both the piano and its parallel musical developments evolved. The 
beginning of Mozart's career in Vienna to the introduction of the eight-octave, OVERSTRUNG, cast-iron FRAME piano 
spans less than eighty years. Yet Mozart's lightly built, lightly strung, wooden-framed piano, with delicate, LEATHER- 
covered HAMMERS seems to occupy a different aesthetic universe from that of the modern CONCERT GRAND. In between 
these two extremes were many important steps in the development process, but unlike earlier Darwinian evolutionary 
interpretations, many of those steps were highly important. In their own right they can be regarded as peaks of achievement 
that served composers and music alike with great distinction. The modern performer must, however, be prepared to play 
music of widely different periods and in different styles. Ideally, each of these should be matched with an instrument model 
of similar date and location. This obviously is impractical, but there has been a tendency to accept an excessively limited 
choice of model to serve for an unsuitably wide range of repertoire. As has tended to occur with harpsichord music, instrument 
types are commonly chosen which are later in date than the repertoire performed. 

Because of the importance of the first Viennese school of composition, emphasis today has fallen on the instruments of 
Stein, and Viennese makers ANTON WALTER and CONRAD GRAF. In the case of Stein's pianos, modern players tend to 


be reluctant to develop a technique appropriate to the limitations of an action without a hammer-check mechanism. Modern 
makers customarily fit copies of these instruments with check actions. This allows players to produce a wide dynamic range, 
particularly at high levels, but it is a historical falsification, as Stein's pianos never had check actions. The pianos of Anton 
Walter have served as models for many replica pianos now used throughout the world. They have great beauty of tone, 
flexibility, and wide dynamic range. For many performers they are a first choice for the performance of Mozart, a choice 
justified by Mozart's ownership of a Walter piano. The instruments chosen for replication, however, usually date from after 
Mozart's death and bear little resemblance to his own Walter piano. Similarly, the choice of a powerful piano after Conrad 
Graf for performance of a BEETHOVEN concerto is justified by Graf s long loan of one of his instruments to the composer. 
This overlooks the fact that these instruments date from long after the dates of composition of the concertos. Instruments 
contemporary with these works have different musical and technical possibilities. 

The art of making early pianos is a broken tradition, something shared with modern harpsichord and clavichord building. 
Accurate replication of an instrument is dependent on accurately measuring all aspects of the model to be copied, matching 
original materials and understanding constructional working methods. This can only be based on intimate contact with original 
instruments and adequate opportunities to study them. The handicraft ability of the modern maker must be equal to that of the 
original builder. In addition the modern maker must extrapolate from surviving evidence and practical experience all 
necessary parameters for setting up, VOICING, and REGULATING actions. Long musical experience is necessary to enable 
a maker to carry an aural image of a particular model in the mind, serving as an objective toward which he must aim, 
particularly during the final stages of construction. Although all these technical requirements must be satisfied adequately, the 
maker also passes something of himself into an instrument. Making an instrument is no mere mechanical process, but one 
demanding an intangible creative input. 

Early Florentine, German, English, and French pianos are infrequently copied today. This follows partly from a limited or 
unfashionable repertoire appropriate to these instruments. In the case of English and French pianos, there is an additional 
cause for their neglect: antique instruments brought to working order often suffer from serious structural distortion and 
acoustic deterioration. This is integral to their design. Many early south German and Viennese pianos on the other hand have 
been restored to working order and are notably satisfactory both mechanically and musically. The structural design of these 
instruments is inherently more accomplished than their English and French counterparts, but it is regrettable that the latter' s 
great musical potential and unique palette of tone color is neglected in consequence. 

During the last thirty years the work of notable builders of historically accurate replicas has established the early piano as a 
part of modern musical life. Amongst these, Thomas and Barbara Wolf, Rodney Regier, and Philip Belt have been important 
in the United States. In Europe, Christopher Clarke (France), Monica Mai (Germany), Paul McNultey (The Netherlands), 
Derek Adlam (England), and Colin Booth (England) have made major contributions. 

See also Early Piano: Restoration; Early Piano: Revival 



Brauchli, Bernard, Susan Brauchli, Alberto Galazzo, eds. De Clavicordio, Proceedings of the International Clavichord Symposium. Various 
articles in vols. 1 (1993), 2 (1995), 3 (1997), 4 (1999), 5 (2001). Magnano, Italy: Musica Antica a Magnano. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Rosier. John, keyboard Musical Instruments in ihc Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 

O'Brien, Grant. Rul kei s I Ihirpsi I ' , Cambridge: Cambridge Unhcrsily P I 90. 

Pollens, Stewart. The Early Pianoforte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 

Wythe, Deborah. "Conrad Graf (1782-1851) Imperial Royal Court Fortepiano Maker in Vienna." Ph.D. diss. New York University, 1990. 

Several important considerations enter into the question of whether an instrument should or should not be restored and 
made playable. The age, condition, and rarity of the instrument are of foremost consideration. If the instrument is one-of-a- 
kind and still in original condition, great caution must be taken to preserve and conserve the original parts. The goals in 
conserving a rare antique include preserving the instrument in original condition, saving, documenting, and photographing 
anything that has to be removed, and protecting the instrument against deterioration. Not every instrument can or should be 
made playable. In other circumstances restoration may be appropriate even if the result is not 100 percent satisfactory 
playability. Above all, the original components of the instrument, to the extent that they are still present, must be preserved 
and documented. 

The curators and conservators of major museums and musical instrument collections attempt to preserve historical pianos 
in the condition in which they were received, taking measures to protect them from deterioration, while often avoiding the 
temptation to make them play. They question whether the rare musical instruments in their trust should be made playable 


because restoration diminishes the historical authenticity of an instrument, and playing it inevitably results in deterioration 
and wear and tear on original parts. Our right to hear the voices of historic instruments often conflicts with the obligation 
museums have to preserve the instruments for the scholars, researchers, and replica builders of the future. Many instruments 
in museums and private collections have been greatly reduced in historical importance through attempts to restore them and make 
them play. 

Conversely, the instrument restorer whose goal is to return the instrument to playing condition, while retaining and 
documenting all original materials, takes a different path. The work of a responsible restorer is always accompanied by a 
written report, supported by photographs, drawings, measurements, and a detailed explanation of the procedures used in the 
restoration. Moreover, any repairs should be rendered reversible by using water-soluble animal glues. It is also incumbent 
upon the restorer to offer suggestions for the continued preservation and maintenance of rare instruments. 

The difficulties involved with restoring antique pianos and returning them to playing condition are considerable. Little is 
known about the building methods used and the specific materials employed by early builders, particularly during the first 150 
years of piano history, when the wood- framed piano reached an extraordinary state of perfection. Replacement materials for 
HAMMERS, DAMPERS, and ACTION parts, and even suitable stringing WIRE are often not available. For very early 
pianos that do not incorporate cast-iron FRAMES, and often have hammers made of laminated LEATHER, both the restorer 
of original instruments and the replica builder face considerable challenges in their attempts to duplicate the craftsmanship 
and the materials of the original builders. The large number of early pianos that have survived, often with original STRINGS, 
hammers, KEYBOARDS, and CASE FINISHES, is a tribute to the skill and high-quality materials employed by period 
builders. After an interruption of over 150 years in the building of fortepianos it is not surprising that today's replica makers 
and restorers must struggle to recreate the mastery of period builders who grew up in a flourishing tradition of competitive 
hand craftsmanship. The workmanship of famous builders such as STEIN, WALTER, GRAF, and STREICHER lives on in 
their instruments, but their methods were not adequately described in writing at the time. Famous makers obviously wanted to 
maintain their competitive edge and they jealously guarded their building procedures. 

Working with antique pianos requires an enormous amount of thought and care. Every instrument presents its own unique 
problems and challenges. An antique instrument must not be approached as though it were inherently inferior to the modern 
piano. All attempts to "modernize" an antique piano using new SOUNDBOARDS, PINBLOCKS, modern music wire, and 
oversize FELT hammers and dampers in place of the original materials must be assiduously avoided. An antique instrument is 
reduced in importance in direct proportion to the number of original parts which have been removed. One of the definitions of 
the noun "restoration" is "to put back into nearly or quite the original form." The task of the restorer who hopes to enhance 
the instruments in his care is to retain and preserve as much of the original instrument as possible. 

Age is not the only consideration that determines if an instrument should receive special conservation. Any piano 
manufactured by a famous builder or owned by a famous composer or performer is historically important. MOZART'S 
Walter fortepiano, the BROADWOOD, ERARD, and Graf pianos owned by BEE-THOVEN, the PLEYEL owned by 
CHOPIN, Paderewski's STEINWAY, and Bartok's BECHSTEIN are all invaluable primary sources of information about the 
nature of piano sound for different generations of composers. Many pianos built in the last 100 years are potentially 
important. The piano restorer must treat such instruments with great caution in order to preserve the intrinsic value of the 
instruments as historical documents. A musical instrument can be regarded both as a work of art and as an important 
historical artifact, because of the information it provides about the history of culture, science, and manufacturing technology. 

An approach that has nothing to do with conservation or restoration is taken by some modern piano rebuilders, many of 
whom, particularly in North America, replace as a matter of course the original soundboards, pinblocks, strings, and action 
parts in high-quality nineteenth- and twentieth-century GRAND PIANOS. Even if the work is expertly accomplished, a 
nineteenth-century Steinway with a modern action and a twenty-first-century soundboard no longer reflects the workmanship 
and goals of the original makers. 

The motivation for the current early piano revival is that we should be allowed to hear the music of Mozart, Beethoven, 
Schubert, Chopin, LIZST, BRAHMS, and many others on the instruments that the composers originally intended. The use of 
a skillfully made replica instrument instead of a restored original has numerous advantages, particularly for the touring 
professional pianist. Replicas are usually less expensive and they can be transported and used in situations and environments 
that would be unsuitable for historical instruments. Although replica builders are rapidly improving in their attempts to 
recreate the skill of period makers, it is still questionable whether modern replicas or even restored originals are as good as 
those instruments constructed in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries. 

See also Early Piano: Replication; Early Piano: Revival 




Barclay, Robert L., ed. The Care of Historic Musical Instruments. Edinburgh: Museums and Galleries Commission, 1997. 
Barnes, John. "Does Restoration Destroy Evidence?" Early Music 7 (1980), 153-9. 

Hellwig, Friedemann. "Restoration and Conservation of Historical Musical Instruments." In-Making Musical Instruments. Edited by 

Charles Ford. New York: Pantheon Books, 1979. 
O'Brien, G.G. "Attitudes to Musical Instrument Conservation and Restoration." Bulletin of the Fellowship of Makers and Researchers of 

Historical Instruments 3 (1976): 15-18. 
Plenderleith, H.J., and A.E.A.Werner. The Conservation of Antiquities and Works of Art: Treatment, Repair and Restoration. London: Oxford 

University Press, 1971. 

Swenson, Edward E. "Ein Gliicksfall: Ein Fortepiano von Conrad Graf." Concerto, Das Magazin fur alte Musik. (March 1988): 10-16. 

Awakening interest in early music toward the end of the nineteenth century in several European capitals prompted the 
beginnings of activity in the field of early piano as well. A natural outgrowth of the revival of the harpsichord and other stringed 
KEYBOARDinstruments of the Baroque, the early piano movement should be seen in context of the overall period-instrument 
movement, which in turn is part of the broader early-music renaissance. 

Inevitably in discussing the early piano, the question arises as to what precisely constitutes "early." Although several of its 
distinguishing features, including the cast-iron FRAME and the double ESCAPEMENT ACTION, were invented 
considerably earlier, most authorities seem in agreement that the modern GRAND PIANO as we now know it emerged only 
after about 1860. This date can therefore serve as an approximate limit. 

The noted music antiquarian Arnold Dolmetsch made significant contributions to the early-piano movement, although he was 
most closely associated with the revival of instruments such as the lute, viola da gamba, recorder, and clavichord. After 
leaving school at the age of fourteen Dolmetsch entered the family workshop as an apprentice, learning the craft of making 
and repairing keyboard instruments, and by sixteen was thoroughly trained in workshop technique. Dolmetsch's first antique 
instrument acquisition (in Brussels) was in fact an old SQUARE PIANO that he re- stored himself, since he found no one else 
capable of the task. 

By 1898 the first of the three BEETHOVEN-era FORTE PIANO replicas that Dolmetsch built was virtually complete. 
Later on this instrument was donated to and used regularly in Dolmetsch's early music festival at Has-lemere. The second of 
these instruments was restored to working order and is now in the Raymond Russell COLLECTION in Edinburgh, whereas 
the third, made for Cecil Rhodes, is in the prime minister's residence in South Africa. 

Around 1906 a "Fortepiano Society" was founded in Munich to present eighteenth-century music on appropriate 
instruments. Unfortunately, the concerts met with something less than critical success. Perhaps echoing Voltaire's notorious 
quip that the fortepiano was no better than a "boilermaker's instrument," the German critic Hugo Daffner remarked in the 
Neue Zeitschrift fur Musik that the harpsichord at least sounded different from the piano, whereas the forte-piano merely 
sounded worse! It is an open question whether this reaction was primarily attributable to the aesthetic prejudices of the critic 
or to an instrument in an inferior state of repair that was used for the concert. 

In the early years of the twentieth century Wanda Landowska laid the groundwork for revival of the early piano by 
challenging the supremacy of the modern piano through her championship of the harpsichord. Nonetheless, she herself 
performed relatively little on historical instruments. A much more active fortepianist was Isolde Ahlgrimm, who achieved 
musical prominence in her native city of Vienna despite the entrenched conservatism and resistance to revolutionary music 
ideas characteristic of this music center. 

Like Landowska, Ahlgrimm was trained as a pianist, working with Vienna's most prominent teachers. Her conversion to 
old instruments (both harpsichord and fortepiano) was sparked by her meeting with the Viennese musical instrument collector 
Dr. Erich Fiala, whom she subsequently married. With Fiala she founded the influential "Concerte fur Kenner und Liebhaber" 
in 1937, which comprised seventy-four concerts over a twenty-year span. Among the early pianos in the Ahlgrimm-Fiala 
collection were instruments by FERDINAND HOFMANN, Michael Rosenberger, Samesch, and ANTON WALTER. 

In contrast to the fortepiano series in Munich, "Concerte fur Kenner und Liebhaber" achieved success from the start. The 
very first concert, performed on a Viennese fortepiano built by Michael Rosenberger (ca.1790) was described by one critic as 
"something entirely special. It succeeded in moving to enthusiasm the discerning Viennese musical public. Isolde Ahlgrimm, 
who has already achieved notable success on the modern piano, brought to the hammerklavier great ability and fine 
musicianship. Her technique, personality and appearance are as though made for this instrument." 

Ready access to appropriate instruments is an obvious sine qua non for early piano performance, and for this reason several 
of the most influential performing artists (like Ahlgrimm with Fiala) have also been collectors. Paul Badura-Skoda, along with 
his wife musicologist Eva Badura-Skoda began collecting GRAFS and BROAD WOODS starting in the 1950s, and early in 
their careers began asking questions about the relationship between the instruments and the interpretation of the music 
composed for them. Paul Badura-Skoda's historical recordings for BASF (Harmonia Mundi) were later supplanted by a new 


series of HAYDN, Bee-thoven, and Schubert releases from Astree. BaduraSkoda collaborated at times with another Austrian 
fortepianist/collector, Jorg Demus. 

Advocates of the early piano have often had to contend with the traditional attitude that the instrument represents little 
more than a legitimately extinct predecessor in the evolutionary march toward the greater perfection of the modern piano. In order 
for the early piano to achieve acceptance beyond its original province as an item of interest primarily to antiquarians and 
scholars, an aesthetic embracing the sound of the instrument on its own terms had to be established. No one has done more in 
this respect than Malcolm Bilson, without doubt the most influential and articulate spokesperson on behalf of the virtues of 
the classical Viennese fortepiano and its suitability in performing the repertoire written for it. 

It was Bilson's playing a fortepiano by the American builder Philip Belt (replica of a Louis Dulcken, original in the 
Smithsonian) that convinced him of the performance possibilities of the early instruments. Asking probing questions such as 
"Do we know how to read Urtext editions?" Bilson over the course of his performing career has delved into numerous issues 
of classical PERFORMANCE PRACTICE, explaining incisively how characteristics of the fortepiano tone affect 
performance matters such as phrasing, articulation, inflection, tempo, and expressivity. 

Never one to shy away from controversy in pointing out the limitations of modern piano in this repertoire, Bilson has 
shown a rare ability to synthesize the scholarly and the practical, making him no less influential as a teacher than as an artist. 
His discography includes landmark recordings of the complete Mozart concerti on the Deutsche Gramaphon Archiv label with 
John Eliot Gardiner and the English Baroque Soloists, a series of RECORDINGS that he began in 1983, and the complete cycle 
of the Schubert sonatas on Hungaraton. 

Whereas Malcolm Bilson has virtually abandoned performing in public on the modem piano, his col league Robert Levin 
maintains an active career on both instruments. Other leading fortepianists today include Penelope Crawford, John Gibbons, 
Jos Van Immerseel, Christopher Kite, Steven Lubin, Andreas Staier, Eckhart Selheim, Colin Tilney, and Andrew Willis. 

The early-piano movement has suffered at times from the shortage of suitable instruments in proper playing condition. As 
of the year 2000 one very prominent fortepianist renounced giving concerts on early pianos for this reason. Unfortunately 
pianos, with their large internal stresses and complicated mechanisms, are particularly prone to deterioration over time. The 
scholar Robert Winter has pointed to some of the problems inherent in hearing old pianos in an unrestored state: "I am not 
persuaded that retaining the original STRINGS and LEATHER HAMMER coverings produces an 'original' sound. Strings 
will have undergone crystallographic alignment in contact over a century and one half with air. Leather proves equally 
susceptible to change, and no one would claim that a SOUNDBOARD even under the best circumstances had an indefinite 
life span." 

Except in very rare instances of especially good preservation, then, some RESTORATION at least will be necessary. A 
shoddy restoration is, however, worse than none at all. Fortunately, the art of restoration has made important strides, and there 
are several present-day craftsmen doing outstanding work. 

Martin Scholz of the "Werkstatte fur historische Tasteninstrumente" in Basel was an important restorer in the 1960s and 
1970s. In 1971 the Englishman Derek Adlam, along with Richard Burnett, began restoring the keyboard instruments in the 
Finchcocks Collection, now located in a spacious Georgian manor house in Kent. Adlam actually began restoring early pianos 
as early as 1961. Edwin Beunk and Johan Wennink (Enschede, The Netherlands) have shown that it is possible to literally 
rejuvenate an early piano by combining scrupulous respect for historical data with a fearless and thoroughgoing restorative 
approach when appropriate. Edward Swenson of Trumansburg, New York, maintains an informative web page in addition to a 
workshop performing restorations for a number of prestigious collections and museums. 

The practical need for instruments in concert condition can be only partially satisfied by the restoration of old pianos. In 
addition to the problem of the limited supply of original instruments, restoration inevitably poses a conflict regarding the role 
of the instrument as an object of historical study vs. its potential as a functioning musical device. Museums are often 
understandably loath to consent to restorations that can destroy irreplaceable historical evidence. These factors have rendered 
the role of the builder of replicas increasingly indispensable. One can truly say that the early piano revival could not have 
taken place without the efforts of skilled and dedicated builders. 

Replica builders initially focused on the classical Viennese five-octave fortepiano. This was a natural development given the 
rarity of originals and the practicality of the smaller instrument along with the glorious literature it made immediately 
accessible (including Haydn, MOZART, and the Beethoven sonatas up through op. 31). Fairly soon, though, builders were 
producing Viennese copies of six and six and one-half octaves as well, thus extending the range of the repertoire through 
Schubert to early CHOPIN and Schumann. 

In addition to the Louis Dulcken copy mentioned above, Philip Belt has also produced replicas of Mozart's own concert 
instrument, an Anton Walter five-octave Viennese grand, the original of which is found in the Mozart Geburtshaus in 
Salzburg. One of these instruments (built in 1977) was used on Malcolm Bilson's recorded cycle of the Mozart concerti. 

Outstanding among builders as of 2002, R.J.Regier of Freeport, Maine, combines musical and aesthetic sensitivity with the 
rigorous training of an engineer. His workshop offers both a five-octave replica of an Anton Walter instrument (design based 
on two instruments in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna) and a six-and-one-half octave Conrad Graf (design based on an 


1824 fortepiano from the Finchcocks Collection). The husband and wife team of Thomas and Barbara Wolf (Virginia) offer a 
five-octave SCHANTZ copy and an 1815 Nanette STREICHER (geboren Stein) model. 

Margaret Hood (Wisconsin) has also made a speciality of replicas of fortepianos by Nanette Streicher, whereas Keith Hill 
(Michigan) has produced free adaptations of fortepianos by Graf. Thomas Ciul (Michigan) concentrates on unusual 
instruments such as the recumbent HARP-FORTEPIANO. In Europe notable builders include Derek Adlam, Christopher 
Clarke, Paul McNultey, Chris Maene, and Paul Poletti. 

Recently instruments of CRISTOFORI design have attracted builders' attention. David Sutherland of Ann Arbor, Michigan, 
was commissioned by the Schubert Club of Saint Paul, Minnesota, to build a Cristofori replica in connection with the three- 
hundredth anniversary of the piano's invention. Thomas and Barbara Wolf also offer a Cristofori. On the other hand, Peter 
Redstone of Claremont, Virginia, has turned to an English model, producing a 1772 BACKERS replica based on an original 
in the Russell Collection in Edinburgh, Scotland. 

Another source of replicas is kits. The concept of a partially-finished instrument to be completed by the purchaser was 
launched for harpsichords in 1959 by Wolfgang Zuckermann. Among the kit fortepianos now available on the market are 
Johann Andreas STEIN models, one produced by the Hubbard Workshop in Boston, and another by Zuckermann 
Harpsichords International in Stonington, Connecticut. The "Paris Workshop" under the direction of Marc Ducornet in 
Montreuil sous Bois, France, offers a fortepiano "ecole Stein." 

In the face of the audience problems experienced recently by classical music, some of the optimism of the early piano 
movement of the 1980s and early 1990s has no doubt dissipated. Nonetheless scholarship and performing activities continue 
unabated. Museums and other public collections of early pianos are playing an important role in sponsoring concerts, 
conferences, and festivals. In America the Smithsonian exhibition "Piano 300" was held over several months and attracted 
over a quarter of a million visitors. Other venues that have been active in promoting performance include the America's 
Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota, and the Schubert Club in Saint Paul. Prominent among societies 
devoted to furthering the early piano movement is the Westfield Center for Keyboard Studies, which has sponsored major 
conferences and symposia on Mozart and Schubert, along with other events. 

In England the Finchcocks Collection, presided over by Richard and Katrina Burnett, contains some seventy pianos among 
the nearly one hundred early keyboard instruments and maintains an especially active concert and educational schedule. Mr. 
Burnett has made numerous recordings on pianos from the collection. Other important European collections sponsoring concerts 
include those in Leipzig, Niirnberg, Paris, and Salzburg. The small but symbolically significant Accademia Bartolomeo 
Cristofori, founded in Florence in 1989, is entirely devoted to the study of the early piano. 

The early-piano movement has not gone untouched by the advent of modern technologies. One intriguing development is 
the possibility of reproducing the sound of an early piano on an electronic keyboard, offered by the KURZWEIL CD-ROM 
fortepiano SAMPLER. One may purchase a sampling of the sound of a replica by Chris Maene of a Viennese fortepiano by Anton 
Walter about 1780. Internet resources relevant to the early piano include the Fortepiano Online Mailing List and the Early 
Piano Information Site. 

Possible future directions for the early piano include the production of replica instruments from the time period 1830-1860, 
as well as the creation of an interesting new contemporary repertoire. For the moment nothing exists of the stature of 
harpsichord works by Manuel de Falla, Francis Poulenc, and Elliott Carter. 

See also Early Piano: Replication; Early Piano: Restoration; Performance Practices 



Badura-Skoda, Eva and Paul. Interpreting Mozart on the Keyboard. Translated from the German by Leo Black (Original title: Mozart- 
Interpretation). London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1962. 
Basart, Ann P. The Sound of the Fortepiano: A Discography of Recordings of Early Pianos. Berkeley, Calif.: Fallen Leaf Press, 1985. 
Bilson, Malcolm. "The Viennese Fortepiano of the Late 18th Century." Early Music 8 (1980): 158-62. 

."Keyboards." Performance Practice: Music after 1600. Edited by Howard Mayer Brown and Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan 

Press, 1989:223-38. 

Bray, David. "The Colt Clavier Collection at 50: A Collection in Distress?" Harpsichord and Fortepiano 5, no. 1 (1994): 30-2. 
Cole, Michael. The Pianoforte in the Classical Era (Pianos 1760-1830). Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. 

Good, lidwin .VI. Giraffes. Black Dnigoi and Oilier Pianos I Technological llhtoiy;, >in Crish >ri to the Modern Concert Gnina d cd 

Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2001. 
Haskell. Ham The Early Music Revival: A History. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1988. 
Pollens, Stewart. The Early Pianoforte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 

Roscnblum, Sandra. Performance Practices in Classic Piano Music. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1988. 
Swenson, Edward. "300 Years of Piano Building: A Comprehensive Bibliography" (online listing). 


Watchorn, Peter. "Isolde Ahlgrimm and Vienna's Historic Keyboard Revival." Harpsichord and Fortepiano 6, no. 2 (1997): 10-1 7. 

."Isolde Ahlgrimm: L)iscograph\ . Performance, Publications and Instruments." llarpsiclionl ami l-'oncphmo 7, no. 1 (1998):14-22. 
Winter, Robert. "The Emperor's New Clothes: 19th-century Instruments Revisited." Nineteenth Century Music 1 (1984): 25 1-65. 

The ebonies are the black KEYS of a piano, called variously sharps or accidentals, that were once made of well-seasoned 
pine or other suitable woods and covered with strips of ebony (a hard, jet-black tropical wood of the genus Diospyros). Today 
piano manufacturers use black plastic to cover the accidentals in order to match the white plastic-capped naturals. 

See also Ivories 


EDWARDS, WILLIAM HENRY (fl. 1803- 1839, possibly-ca. 1850) 

William Edwards was a lesser-known, but significant maker of SQUARE PIANOS in early to mid-nineteenth-century 
London. At least nine squares and a CABINET PIANO are known to survive. They display features that Edwards adapted 
from the clavichord structure: the elimination of the CASE bottom, which is then open for resonance to the SOUNDBOARD, 
and a stand with holes in its tray. One of these pianos, a five-and-one-half-octave square, is publicly exhibited at The 
Georgian House in Edinburgh. The Finchcocks Collection in Goudhurst, England, owns an Edwards cabinet piano. The 
Edwards nameboard usually included the royal coat of arms, and one of the most interesting structural features was his 
incorporation of iron-bar strengthening into the base of some of his instruments. 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 1, 1700- 1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 
. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham 
Books, 1978; repr. London, 1989. 

Friedrich Konrad Ehrbar (1827-1905) founded the Ehrbar Piano Company in Vienna in 1855. He was born at Hildesheim, 
Germany, on 26 April 1827. A cholera epidemic carried away his father, mother, and sister within a week when he was just 
two years old. He spent his childhood in an orphanage, where he attracted attention by his ability to build guitars for his 
friends. According to Dolge, an organ builder named Frederici (Friederici?) in Hanover noticed his talent and offered young 
Ehrbar a seven-year apprenticeship. While at Hanover, Ehrbar began a lifelong friendship with another young piano builder, 
Heinrich Engelhardt Steinweg, who went on to establish the firm of STEINWAY & SONS in New York. 

In 1848 Ehrbar left Hanover for a period of travel through Germany and Austria. He visited Frankfurt, Nuremberg, 
Regensburg, and finally settled in Vienna. During this period, the piano was at the apex of its popularity and instruments of 
all types, particularly GRANDS, were in great demand. Vienna alone hosted over two hundred individual piano makers. 
Ehrbar worked with the distinguished Viennese piano builder Eduard Seuffert (1819-1855). After just one year, Ehrbar was 
already managing the firm, and after Seuffert's death, he acquired ownership of the business by marrying Seuffert's widow 
Rosa in 1857. By the year 1859 Ehrbar was appointed purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court (Hof-fortepianofabrikant) . 

Ehrbar was a skilled and innovative piano builder, who was among the first in Vienna to employ the new American system 
of strengthening the piano FRAME with a single cast-iron PLATE. Among the numerous awards and distinctions given to 
Ehrbar pianos were medals and prizes at world's fairs and EXHIBITIONS at London (1862, 1902, 1906), Paris (1867, 1878, 
1900), and Vienna (1873). In 1877 Ehrbar constructed his own concert hall on the Muhlgasse in Vienna. The Saal Ehrbar, 
praised for its excellent ACOUSTICS, featured concerts by famous pianists and also served as a show-place for the finest 
Ehrbar grands. In a letter to Eduard Hanslick, FRANZ LISZT described the TONE of Ehrbar's grand pianos as "soft, and 
lovely yet very powerful and strong." In the late nineteenth century, Ehrbar grand pianos provided serious competition for 
BOSENDORFER, their principal Viennese rival. Ehrbar grand piano number 10,000, built with an elaborate art CASE, was 
presented to Austrian Archduke Otto in 1890. The 1912 Ehrbar catalogue offers grand pianos with both English and 
"improved" Viennese ACTIONS. A London branch at 30 Wigmore Street was maintained by the Ehrbar Company during the 
early twentieth century. 

Friedrich Ehrbar retired in January 1898. He died at Hart, near Gloggnitz in Lower Austria, in his seventy-eighth year on 25 
February 1905. The family continued to manage the company, and in 1912 a new factory was constructed. Directed by the 
founder's son Friedrich Benedict Ehrbar (4 March 1873-1 February 1921) and his grandson Friedrich Walter Ehrbar, the 
Ehrbar Piano Company continued to produce instruments until 1983. 




Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers . Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. 

lihrbar Compam . Katalog 11: l-'rmlr. Lhrhur K. ///;</ K. llofuml Kammer-KlavkrfahrikMit. V ienna: 1-hrbar, ca. I'M 2. 
Hopfner, Rudolf. Wienerinstrumentenmacher 1766-1900. Adressenverzeichnis und Bibliographie. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 1999. 

Electronic piano is the generic term for a KEYBOARD instrument that incorporates features of the conventional piano but 
in which the TONE is generated, amplified, and/or modified by electronic circuitry. Since the earliest experiments in 
electrifying a conventional piano in the 1920s, electronic pianos have grown in sophistication and popularity. They have been 
used widely as substitutes for conventional pianos and as unique instruments in their own right for performance, recording, 
and educational applications. For classification and for historical reasons, it is useful to divide this subject into two broad 
categories according to the method of tone generation: (1) electric, or more specifically, electroacoustic pianos produce tone 
physically from a hammer striking a vibratory body; the tone is then subject to electronic amplification and other possible 
processing; and (2) electronic pianos contain no mechanical vibratory bodies. Instead, purely electronic signals are generated 
using oscillators, or more recently, digital samplers. In common usage, the terms electric piano and electronic piano have 
been applied and interchanged indiscriminately. 

Both electric and electronic pianos require a sound reinforcement system in order to be heard. This includes an amplifier 
and one or more loudspeakers, and may include a variety of sound-processing devices. These may be separate components 
outside the instrument, connected by cables, or they may be built into the cabinet of the instrument itself. In either case, it is 
the loudspeaker that converts electrical energy into sound waves, becoming, in effect, the audible musical instrument — the 
counterpart of the string/soundboard complex on a conventional piano. 

Electric Pianos 

Electric pianos were developed earlier than electronic pianos and will be examined first. The conventional piano has often 
been electronically amplified by using a microphone to balance with other amplified instruments or to permit processing of its 
sound. However, to be classified as an electric piano, an instrument must include built-in electronic circuitry. The principal 
vibratory body of an electric piano may be strings, metal reeds, tone bars, rods, or other devices designed as part of or in 
proximity to a transducer. A transducer converts physical energy (vibrations) into electrical energy (voltage). The need for 
acoustic diffusion of sound is eliminated, since the instrument will be heard through a loudspeaker. Thus electric pianos 
generally have no SOUNDBOARD. 

The type of transducer used in electric musical instruments is commonly referred to as a pickup. Historically, there have 
been three basic categories of electric pianos based on the type of pickup: (1) electromagnetic, (2) electrostatic, and (3) 
piezoelectric. An electromagnetic pickup consists of a permanent magnet coiled with a fine wire. The pickup is placed so that 
the STRING passes through the magnetic field. When the string vibrates, the magnetic field is periodically altered in shape 
and small electrical pulses are generated at the same frequency. Early electric pianos that utilized this type of pickup included 
the Afeo-BECHSTEIN Fliigel and the Radiopiano, both from Germany in the early 1930s. An electrostatic pickup consists of 
a rectangular bar or plate that functions as one of the electrodes of a variable capacitor; the other electrode is the string itself. 
Vibrations cause the capacitance between the string and the plate to vary at the same frequency, generating voltage. The 
earliest electric piano to use this type of pickup was B.F.Meissner's Electronic Piano, built in the United States in the early 
1930s. Piezoelectric crystal pickups were first utilized in conventional pianos for amplification and have been used in almost 
all electric pianos built since the 1970s. In a piezoelectric pickup, the vibrating string causes compression of a crystal that, in 
turn, generates electrical voltage. This method is used in electric UPRIGHTS and GRANDS made by AEOLIAN, Helpinstil, 

One of the earliest attempts to electrify the piano occurred in Atlantic City in the mid- 1920s when the sound of a 
CHICKERING PLAYER PIANO in a shop window in Atlantic City was amplified by microphone and transmitted outside to 
passersby. Also in the 1920s the Radiano, a contact pickup, was designed to improve fidelity of piano sounds in radio 
broadcasts. Occupying a position midway between the conventional piano and an electric piano was Simon Cooper's 
Creatone (1930). The Creatone used electrical circuits to prolong the tones of a conventional piano but required no loudspeakers. 

In the early 1930s instruments were designed and built in both Europe and America that retained some features of the 
conventional piano but utilized electronic pickups and were heard through a loudspeaker. Three pioneers, Walter Nernst and 
Oskar Vierling of Berlin, and Benjamin Franklin Meissner of New Jersey, all made important contributions. Nernst and 
Vierling designed and built the Neo-Bechstein Fliigel. Meissner developed an electric piano that would become the prototype 
for several instruments built in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. 

Electrifying the conventional piano brought about notable changes in construction. In the Neo-Bechstein, amplification 
made it possible to use shorter and thinner strings. They were grouped in fives converging toward an electromagnetic pickup. 


Double-stringing was used only in part of the middle register and triple-stringing was eliminated altogether. Since electronic 
amplification also made the soundboard unnecessary, a lighter framework and hammer action resulted. The light hammer created 
new problems for the performer accustomed to a conventional ACTION. This was addressed by providing hammers of the 
usual weight that struck a rail; the rail drove a smaller hammer (approximately l/20th of the weight of a normal one) into the 
string itself. 

The features of the Neo-Bechstein created some interesting musical possibilities. As a result of reduced amplitude its tone 
was extraordinarily pure, sometimes compared to that of the clavichord. Since no energy was dissipated through the 
soundboard, damping was reduced and sustaining power was greatly increased — up to sixty seconds in the case of bass strings. 
Thus, a volume pedal could open organlike expressive possibilities. Curiously, the Neo-Bechstein and other electric pianos of 
the era had speaker cabinets with a builtin phonograph and radio. 

B.F.Meissner, already established as a pioneer in radio and electronic phonographs, played one of the most important roles 
in the development of electric pianos from the 1930s well into the 1960s. During the 1930s, in his Millburn, New Jersey, 
laboratory he experimented with electrifying various musical instruments — harmonica to timpani. His interest in the piano 
was encouraged by his brother Otto, a leading music educator who dreamed of a teaching piano that was aesthetically 
acceptable, yet portable and inexpensive. 

Meissner experimented with numerous types of vibratory bodies — reeds, tuning forks, rods, and metal bars. Finding most 
of them unable to produce the complex harmonic structure needed to create an acceptable piano tone, he eventually returned 
to a conventional piano with the soundboard removed. He then experimented with a variety of electrostatic pickups on each of 
the eighty-eight string groups. His first manufactured instrument, the Electronic Piano, was patented in the early 1930s and for 
two decades thereafter he licensed his PATENTS to a large segment of the electric piano industry in America. Meissner's 
inventions were used in the Minipiano by Hardman, Peck, and Company, the Electone by KRAKAUER Brothers, the 
Dynatone by the Ansley Radio Corporation, and several others. 

All of these instruments were essentially conventional pianos with electrostatic pickups instead of a soundboard. While 
they found some success in both the professional and home markets, there were problems — primarily a muddiness of sound 
from the low damping rate. According to Meissner himself, the "effect was such as is heard on conventional pianos when too 
much sustaining pedal is used." In addition the electric pianos were no more portable and no less expensive than a 
conventional piano. They had no advantages in TUNING stability. 

Attempting to address this array of problems, Meissner developed an entirely new type of electric piano by 1954 that 
became the prototype WURLITZER Electric Piano. The new piano used thin steel reeds one-quarter inch across as a 
vibratory body. The reeds were struck by hammers using a simple, but serviceable action. He solved the waveform problems 
previously encountered with reeds by having the hammer strike each reed at the node of its third PARTIAL. The pickup was 
positioned so that it negated the second partial. This left only the fundamental to be translated by the pickup. The pickups 
themselves, along with special auxiliary circuitry, were designed to generate a fundamental pitch with a series of odd and 
even harmonics. Made of machined brass, the pickups were placed near the ends of the reeds. Each pickup was the same 
thickness as a reed (.032 inches) and was adjusted to overlap the end of its reed by one -half of its thickness. As a result of this 
design, when the reed moved symmetrically, the pickup would produce an asymmetrical waveform with many harmonics and 
a rich, complex sound. The pickup acted as the fixed part of a variable capacitor, while the vibrating reed acted as the moving 
plate. The changes in capacity due to reed vibration caused a high frequency oscillator to produce a frequency-modulated 
signal that was then demodulated into sound by an FM detector. This output was further modified by audio filters and tone 
formers designed to approximate the characteristics of the piano soundboard. 

Meissner viewed his piano of 1954 as a first step toward a new class of electronic musical instruments. It satisfied many of 
the criteria his brother had envisioned. Abandoning traditional cabinetry altogether, it was smaller, lighter, and cheaper than 
any of its predecessors. The basic model, a cabinet containing keys, action, reed/pickup assembly, and FM preamplifier, 
weighed only seventy-five pounds. It could stay in tune for decades and, using headsets, be practiced in silence. Thus it 
became a standard instrument for networked systems designed for class piano instruction in music schools during the 1960s 
and 1970s. The Wurlitzer EP200, designed in the early 1960s for home and school use, was also widely used by pop and rock 
performers because of its rich, unique sound. 

Another leading figure in the development of the electric piano in America is Harold Rhodes. A successful teacher, Rhodes 
had established a national chain of music schools by age twenty. With the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Air 
Corps. Asked to teach piano to patients in his base hospital, he realized the need for an inexpensive but serviceable keyboard 
instrument. Since nothing else was available, he designed and built the AirCorps Piano out of spare parts salvaged from 
disabled planes. In the AirCorps Piano, bare wooden hammers struck hydraulic tubing that had been straightened and cut into 
xylophone lengths. His program of instruction was such a success that thousands of the instruments were eventually built and 
Rhodes was decorated for his role in the humanitarian project. 

After the war Rhodes attempted to replicate his teaching success in civilian life. He designed a new three-octave 
instrument, the Pre-Piano, using tubes that were about three-eighths inch in diameter, ranging from one to eight inches long. 


This instrument used an electrostatic pickup and had an amplifier with a six-inch speaker built into the console. The Pre- 
Piano failed, according to Rhodes, because the manufacturer did not produce a mechanically sound product. He then designed 
and toured with a seventy-two-note keyboard using a similar tone-generating system in a cabinet resembling a 
BABY GRAND. On this tour he met and formed a partnership with Leo Fender, the inventor of Fender guitars and 
amplifiers. After several years of working together, they perfected an electric piano that would become an industry standard — 
the Fender Rhodes. 

The Fender Rhodes piano was built in four models. The Stage 73 and Stage 88 models consist of keyboard (73 and 88 
keys, respectively), tone generating system, and pickups. They require external amplification and speakers. The Suitcase 73 
and Suitcase 88 models incorporate a built-in stereo amplifier and speaker system. The operation of the Fender Rhodes is 
surprisingly simple. The vibratory body, referred to as a tine, is a modified tuning fork with legs of unequal length. The key 
activates a hammer through a cam system — as the key is depressed, the damper is directly lifted from the tine, which is then 
struck by the hammer. Timbre can be altered significantly by adjusting the position of the pickup and/or the striking point. 
The warm, bell-like sound of the Fender Rhodes has been heard often in jazz, pop, and rock performance by leading artists 

Other instruments that can be classified as "electric pianos" are the 1 lohner Pit.' net and Clavinet, each with a unique method 
of tone generation. The Pianet uses a sticky pad resting on a metal reed at the end of each key. When the key is depressed, the 
pad pulls the reed until its elastic resistance overcomes the sticking force. The reed then springs back and vibrates freely; a 
pickup located near the reed transforms the vibrations into electrical signals. In the Clavinet, a string is located directly under 
each key which, when played, impinges the string on a small metal anvil, causing the string to vibrate. The vibration is picked 
up by a series of pickups under the strings, and is then filtered and amplified. The Pianet is known for a warm and mellow 
sound while the Clavinet has a bright, percussive quality. 

The Pianet, Clavinet, Wurlitzer, and Fender Rhodes electric pianos remained in wide use throughout the 1960s and 1970s 
as substitutes for conventional pianos, for a variety of reasons that included cost, portability, and tuning stability. They also 
gained acceptance as musical instruments in their own right — with a unique sound, technique, and repertoire. With the 
emergence of solid state electronics and reliable piezoelectric pickups in the 1970s, electric grand and upright pianos that once 
again used strings as the principal vibratory body began to supersede the earlier electric pianos as substitutes for conventional 
pianos when amplification was required. Of particular interest are the American electric pianos developed by Helpinstil, 
already celebrated for high-quality conventional piano pickups. From Japan, the Yamaha CP70 and CP80 electric baby grand 
pianos, as well as those made by Kawai, were significant and remain in wide use. Various new cross-stringing and double- 
stringing techniques were developed to permit strings that are as long as possible in a compact space. To make these 
instruments portable, they generally divide into two parts, one containing the keyboard and action, the other containing the 
strings, frame, and electronics. 

Also contributing to the demise of Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos from the late 1970s onward was the development of 
high-quality electronic pianos and synthesizers that could adequately replicate the sound of the electric piano among hundreds 
of other on-board voices. 

Electronic Pianos 

This category of instruments consists of piano-like instruments whose sound is generated entirely by electronic components — 
oscillators, digital sample playback systems, and/or hybrids of both. Unlike the electric piano, electronic pianos contain no 
mechanical vibratory bodies. It is again useful to classify instruments according to the method of tone generation. 

While early attempts at electronic piano design date from the 1950s, the oscillator-type electronic piano was first 
successfully developed in the 1970s. It is, in essence, a dedicated or preprogrammed synthesizer designed to simulate the 
features of the conventional piano along with its electric and acoustic relatives. The electronic piano may have one to hundreds 
of preset voices. It may have sixty-one to eighty-eight keys, which are velocity-sensitive and may be weighted so that they 
resemble the feel of a piano action. Sustaining PEDALS and sometimes other types of pedals are almost always included. 

An oscillator is an electronic device that, like the vibratory body/pickup complex of electroacoustic instruments, produces 
regular fluctuations in an electrical current. A single oscillator can generate only a single frequency, hence in early electronic 
keyboards, there were oscillators for every pitch. There were considerable problems with the tuning stability of early 
oscillators. A twelve-oscillator top-octave system was designed to correct this problem. In this system the oscillators were 
tuned to the highest twelve pitches on the instrument, which were then halved successively, using complex circuitry to create 
the pitches of each lower octave. Tuning was improved, since each oscillator would remain in tune with itself. 

During the 1970s solid-state electronics and microprocessor-assisted circuitry allowed a fully polyphonic instrument to 
incorporate only a single oscillator. These pianos used subtractive synthesis — a process of regulating and filtering fixed 
waveforms to create different timbres. A problem created by this system was that all signals derived from a single oscillator 
are in phase with each other, resulting in a sound that is too "pure." Beats between notes of a chord are perfectly regular in 


contrast to the more complex phase relations of a conventional or electric piano. Thus additional sound processing, such as 
doubling, chorusing, and flanging, was needed to sound "realistic." Such sound-processing devices were either separate 
components or built into the electronic piano. 

Notable first generation electronic pianos were the RMI Electra Piano and instruments by ARP (later purchased by Rhodes), 
Crumar, Kustom (a division of BALDWIN). These instruments used the twelve-oscillator top-octave system. Later models 
introduced by Yamaha and Crumar rely on a single high-frequency oscillator running around two megahertz, from which all 
pitches in the chromatic spectrum can be derived. They include the Yamaha CP20, CP25, CP30, and CP35, along with the 
Crumar Roadrunner. 

With rapid advancements in synthesizer and computer technology occurring in the early 1980s, more sophisticated and 
precise methods of tone generation developed for synthesizers, which were immediately applied to electronic pianos. 
Microprocessors were built into almost all electronic keyboards from this time forward, performing a variety of functions. At 
this point in history, the term digital piano generally replaced electronic piano as more common and accurate usage ble is 
Yamaha's proprietary FM (frequency modulation) synthesis, developed by the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Stanford 
University. An extremely accurate method of tone generation, FM is the basis for the popular DX synthesizers. Unlike the 
tone generation method in earlier electronic pianos using subtractive synthesis, FM is a process of additive synthesis that 
attempts to recreate the random harmonic structure of conventional and electric instruments. FM technology was the tone- 
generating system for the Yamaha pf an first-generation Clavinova series digital pianos that were manufactured in several 
models. Features associated with these instruments included on-board speakers, sound processing, equalization, ten or more 
voices, sustain and soft pedals, seventy-six or eighty-eight weighted, velocity-sensitive keys. Digital pianos also include 
MIDI, which allows the instrument to share information with other MIDI devices — for example, synthesizers, sequencers, 

Engineers at ROLAND developed another sophisticated method of tone generation known as structured adaptive synthesis 
(SA) for accurate reproduction of conventional and electric piano sounds. SA attempts to digitally recreate harmonic 
characteristics and timbral variations across a wide range of pitches and velocities. Roland HP, RD, and MKS series 
instruments utilize this method of tone generation and incorporate all or most of the features described in Yamaha digital 
pianos. Interestingly, Roland and Harold Rhodes, in collaboration with one another, developed a new Rhodes instrument, the 
MK-80 introduced in 1990. The MK-80 incorporated SA synthesis. Other significant manufacturers of digital pianos include 
Kawai, KORG, KURZWEIL, and Technics. 

A more recent method of tone generation to be applied to electronic pianos is digital sampling. Sampling consists of 
recording an actual piano's sound and storing it as digitized data, that is, a stream of binary numbers in computer memory. 
The sample is then recalled and played back from a keyboard controller. In order to maintain timbral variety and integrity, 
samples are recorded in many registers of the piano and with many variations in key velocity — a process known as 
multisampling. In this respect, and subject to other variables, many experts believe that sampling provides the most "realistic" 
electronic piano sounds. There is considerable debate over whether this is true or whether a process such as SA synthesis 
actually results in higher-quality sounds. 

Sampling involves large amounts of computer memory and was hence initially limited to expensive instruments such as 
New England Digital's SYNCLAVIER. The Kurzweil 250, another landmark instrument, employed digital sampling to recreate 
not only piano, but a full range of other instruments with realism. These samplers provide the full programmability associated 
with a synthesizer. In the late 1980s as computer memory became less expensive, Korg, Kurzweil, and Ensoniq all marketed 
digital pianos using sample playback devices for tone generation but without the ability to create and manipulate new samples 
extensively. Low cost made these instruments widely available, and other manufacturers followed rapidly with similar products. 
"Hybrid" instruments that combine digital samples stored in ROM with digital synthesis have been successfully developed by 
several manufacturers. Sometimes classified as synthesizers, these instruments could also function as digital pianos. Among 
them were the Kurzweil K1000 and the Yamaha SY77. 

Throughout the 1990s, digital piano technology was refined and improved considerably, though the underlying methods of 
tone generation remained essentially unchanged. The richness and realism of sound have been greatly enhanced through more 
subtle digital sampling, synthesis, and amplification systems. Keyboard actions have been engineered that much more closely 
resemble the feel and responsiveness of a con ventional grand piano action. Many digital pianos also feature onboard 
sequencers, intelligent arrangers, disk drives, and screens that display important information to the user. The Yamaha 
Clavinova CLP series and Roland KR Intelligent series digital pianos have garnered a large market share throughout the 
world, while Kawai, Kurzweil, and Technics have remained competitive. The Van Koevering CEMI (computer-enhanced 
musical instrument) developed by David Van Koevering and Robert Moog is a digital piano with a built-in Windows- 
compatible computer controlled by a flat touch screen mounted into the music rack. By touching screen icons, the user can 
choose sounds, set up splits and layers, make multitrack recordings of music, or launch educational software. 

The Yamaha DISKLAVIER, arriving in the late 1980s and growing steadily in popularity, represents the completion of a 
full cycle from conventional to electric to electronic and back. The DISKLA VIER is a conventional grand or upright piano that 


incorporates full MIDI implementation. Its on-board computer can accurately record, playback, and manipulate all keyboard 
and pedal actions. Performance data, thus recorded, can be stored on computer disks. Using MIDI, performances can be 
archived, edited, or transmitted to and from any other MIDI instruments. 



Bacon, Tony, ed . Rock Hardware: The Instruments, Equipment and Technology of Rock . New York: Harmony Books, 1981. 
Cardcn, Joy. A Piano Teacher 's Guide to Electronic Keyboards. Milwaukee, Wis. : Hal Leonard Publishing, 1988. 
Chadahe, Joel. Electronic Sound: The Past ami Promise of Electronic Music. Preniicc-Hall Humanities, 2000. 

Darter, Tom, ed. The Art of Electronic Music: The Instruments. Designers, anil Musicians Behind the Artistic ami Popular Explosion of 

Electronic Music. New York: Quill/A Keyboard Book, 1984. 
Digital Home Keyboard Guide ( l ( )<)2 ) [formerly Digital Piano Buyers Guide]. II men \ ille. Calif: Intertec Publishing. 
Keyboard (1975-) [formerly Contemporary Keyboard]. San Mateo, Calif.: Music Player Network, a division of United Entertainment 


Meissner, B.F. "The Application of Electronics to the Piano." Proceedings of the Radio Club of America 1 1 (1934): 3. 
."The Electronic Piano." Proceedings of theMusic Teachers National Association 32 (1937): 259. 

Rhea, T.L. "The Evolution of Electronic Musical Instruments in the United States." Ph.D. diss., George Peabody College, Nashville, Tenn., 

Vierling, O. "Das elektroakkustische Klavier." Ph.D. diss., Technische Hochschule, Berlin, 1936. 

Music historian CHARLES BURNEY states in Rees 's Cyclopedia that the first piano in England was made by an English 
monk residing in Rome, a Father Wood, whose CRISTOFORI-styled instrument was brought to England by Samuel Crisp 
around 1752. The first advertisement in England for commercially available pianos was published in Thomas Mortimer's 
Universal Director in 1763. Five years later, JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH gave one of the first public performances of solo 
piano pieces in London on a Zumpe SQUARE PIANO he had purchased for fifty pounds. 

JOHANNES CHRISTOPH ZUMPE was among a group of Saxon refugees of the Seven Years' War known as the 
"TWELVE APOSTLES," who were important contributors to the burgeoning piano industry. Zumpe had worked in Germany 
with GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN (whose pianos were modeled after Cristofori's) and briefly apprenticed with the Swiss-born 
London harpsichord maker Burkhardt Tschudi (BURKAT SHUDI) before establishing his own shop in 1761. His clavichord- 
shaped "SQUARE" pianos with the English single ACTION (which lacked an ESCAPEMENT) became the model of the 
early English piano makers. Zumpe returned to Saxony in 1784 and George D.Schoene advertized as "Successors to Zumpe." 

Some other important eighteenth-century figures were JOHN GEIB of the firm LONGMAN AND BRODERIP (the 
"hopper" escapement), CHRISTOPHER GANER, Boyer & Buntebart, JOHANNES POHLMANN, Thomas Culliford, 

John Broadwood married Shudi's daughter in 1769 and took over the shop in 1771. The firm of John Broadwood & Sons 
still thrives and, as the longest-surviving manufacturer of pianos in the world, it is a microcosm of the English piano industry. 
Its founder was responsible for many of the innovations that are part of the modern piano. 

The earliest extant Broadwood piano is dated 1774 and is after Zumpe 's pattern. Broadwood later moved the wrest plank 
(PIN BLOCK) from the right to the back, straightened the KEYS, used an improved English double action with an 
escapement, and replaced knee levers with foot PEDALS. 

By 1777 Broadwood had collaborated with Robert Stodart and Americus Backers to make the English GRAND PIANO. 
The improved English action featured regulating screws to adjust for wear. Broadwood also had scientific research done on the 
STRINGING and introduced a divided BRIDGE that improved the bass. 

By 1784 interest in the harpsichord had diminished to the point where Broadwood produced 133 pianos but only 38 
harpsichords, the last Broadwood harpsichord being made in 1793. The firm became Broadwood & Son in 1795 and John 
Broadwood & Sons in 1807; by this time, with a high degree of specialization and a large number of workmen, the 
firm produced over 400 pianos per annum compared to fewer than 40 each by its numerous competitors in England and on the 
Continent. Broadwood was the first to make use of steam power. Increased production brought the price of a square down to 
about twenty pounds. 

In 1820 metal bars were added to the grand and a metal string PLATE to the square. By 1842, 2,500 pianos were being 
produced annually, and Broadwood & Sons was one of the twelve largest employers in London. The year 1851 was the high- 
water mark for the firm. However, slowness in adopting the cast-iron FRAME and OVERSTRINGING caused it to lose its 
preeminence in a highly competitive market, which it has never ragained. 

In 1866 the last Broadwood square was made. The COTTAGE UPRIGHT PIANO, first produced by an Englishman named 
ROBERT WORNUM, had made the square obsolete. Broadwood & Sons then took up the production of cottage uprights. 


In 1902 the new century was ushered in with a new factory having new machinery and new methods. Cuthbert Heath, "the 
father of British insurance," married a Broadwood and as chairman introduced modern economic practices as well. 

During the war years 1914-1918, piano manufacturing was curtailed to produce aircraft for the war effort. (The early 
biplanes really were held together by piano WIRE.) The radio, the gramophone, and the depression caused many piano 
manufacturers to collapse. Though Broadwood survived, it was only with difficulty. The firm briefly diversified into 
gramophones, as it earlier had into PLAYER PIANOS. 

In 1978 the 250th anniversary of the company was marked with a concert performed on five Broadwood pianos made 
between 1787 and 1978 from the company's extensive collection. 

The other early giant in the English piano industry is MUZIO CLEMENTI: composer, pedagogue, piano manufacturer, 
music publisher, and promoter of the piano. He invested heavily in the firm of Longman and Broderip. The litany of name 
changes in the firm to the present day is representative of the bankruptcies, fires, mergers, splits, and acquisitions prevalent 
throughout the industry. For various reasons the firm's name changed to Longman, Clementi & Company; Clementi, Banger, 
Hyde, Collard & Davis (or simply Clementi & Co.); Clementi, Banger, Collard, Davis & Collard; Clementi, Collard, Davis & 
Collard; and Clementi, Collard & Collard; after Clementi' s death it became COLLARD & COLLARD. By 1850 it was 
second only to Broadwood in production. In 1929 it was taken over by CHAPPELL. Chappell pianos are now made by 
KEMBLE, which has a full history of acquisitions since its founding in 1911. 

dementi's contributions to the exportation of English pianos are still manifest. Of lasting innovations to the design of the 
modern piano, the most significant is the use of paired strings of one length of wire sharing the same HITCH PIN, 
PATENTED in 1827 by the firm's foreman, James Stewart. 

Up until about 1850, the world of piano design was very much occupied with the quest for a small UPRIGHT instrument. 
English contributions were important. Early designs had been strung from the KEYBOARD up, but in 1800 
JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS extended the strings to the floor. In 1802 Thomas LOUD patented diagonal cross-stringing and in 
1807 WILLIAM SOUTHWELL, after experiments with an upright square, designed a "CABINET PIANO" with a 
"STICKER" ACTION. Hawkins experimented with a tapered "celeste" (practice) strip, controlled by the middle pedal. 
Robert Wornum made a cottage upright, with the DAMPERS activated by the JACKS, in 1811. In 1842 he designed the tape- 
check (BRIDLE STRAP) action, which is the modern upright action, except for having over-dampers. Because of its long 
connecting damper wires this system was nicknamed the "bird-cage action," still made by Herrburger Brooks, though 
commonly thought obsolete. English and, particularly, Wornum's contributions to the modern upright were inestimable. They 
were copied by PLEYEL and later by the Germans and often are mistakenly attributed to the French. By 1851,80 to 90 percent 
of pianos made in England were uprights. 

Further efforts in England regarding the upright have been toward smaller, lighter, and cheaper instruments, with a counter 
effort toward quality, stability, and durability. More care to the aesthetics of CASE design is exhibited than is usually found in 
their Continental, American, or Asiatic counterparts. 

In 1850 Great Britain was by far the world's largest manufacturer of pianos. Almost all of the many English contributions 
to the development of the modern piano were made by this time. By 1870 the United States made nearly as many pianos as 
England, and France and Germany were not far behind. ERARD and BECHSTEIN even had factories in London. Attachment 
to tradition and patent laws caused English firms to eschew new piano technology such as the cast-iron frame, 
CROSS-STRINGING, AGRAFFES, larger HAMMERS, and heavier strings. In addition, manufacturing methods became 
obsolete, remaining largely labor-intensive. Production increased to over 75,000 pianos a year by World War I, but this was a 
dwindling share of an increasing market. 

Old established firms collapsed or experienced reduced sales. The old practice of making everything in-house produced an 
expensive product, and the failure to embrace new improvements produced a product not suited to new tastes. 

Keyboards, actions, and other parts became available on credit from American, French, and German firms. This enabled 
some new firms to begin production of pianos, such as Bentley, Hopkinson, Rogers, Marshall & Rose, and Chappell. 
Eventually the old firms that survived adopted new techniques and technology. 

During World War I many firms turned to the production of aircraft. This increased their awareness of modern industrial 
practices. There was an economic boom during and after the war, but their new dependence on imported parts made the 
industry unable to take advantage of it. Around this time a domestic industry producing actions and other parts became more 
established, helped by the McKenna Duties of 33'/3 percent on imported musical instruments. 

Between the wars, piano production fell worldwide due to new forms of passive entertainment, the automobile, and the 
depression. Production in England went from over 90,000 pianos in 1927 to about 30,000 in 1932. Introduction of miniature 
pianos (called SPINETS in the United States) increased production to 55,000 per annum by 1935, but many of these new 
pianos were of a poor quality. 

World War II was also devastating to the piano industry, but new plastics, glues, and construction processes developed 
during the war were pioneered by Alfred Knight Limited (now owned by The British Piano Manufacturing Company, of 
Stroud, Gloucestershire) and were adopted throughout the industry. Production reached 19,000 pianos by 1960. 


After the war an extremely high purchase tax caused, for a time, almost all pianos manufactured in England to be exported. 
This expanded the foreign market, but England still suffers a trade deficit in pianos. The figures available from the Central 
Statistical Office in London show the 1988 production to be worth 15 million pounds. Imports were 1,761 pianos worth 11.6 
million pounds and exports were 1,573 pianos worth 6.7 million pounds. This would indicate that at that time cheaper pianos 
were being exported and more expensive ones were being imported. Figures from the Pianoforte Manufacturers and 
Distributors Association Limited differ from these greatly. They show imports to have been 11,266 pianos and exports 2,559 
pianos in 1988; and imports 9,401, exports, 3,874 in 1989. 

The British Music Yearbook of 1990 lists twenty-nine manufacturers of pianos, actions, or keyboards. This is only a 
fraction of the number that once existed, and even this number is inflated by inclusion of brand names owned by larger 
companies and by listings of foreign companies in England. For example, the Kemble Piano Group — which includes 
J.B.Cramer & Company, JOHN BPJNSMEAD, Rogers Ennglut, B. Squire, KIRKMAN (bought in 1896 by Collard & 
Collard), Collard & Collard, Temple Pianoforte Company, SCHMIDT-FLOHR, and Chappell Piano Company — is now 
YAMAHA-Kemble Music. 

Herrburger Brooks, one of the largest manufacturers of piano actions and keyboards in Europe, dates its history from 1810. 
Branches in Paris and London joined to become Herrburger Brooks in 1920 and moved completely to England in 1953. In 
1965 it was taken over by KIMBALL International (formerly Jasper Corporation), which invested heavily in modernization — 
over 1.5 million pounds by the end of the 1980s. In 1998 Herrburger Brooks went into receivership and the following year a 
new company, Langer Limited, was formed by three of Herrburger Brooks former directors to continue manufacturing piano 

Another large manufacturer worth mentioning is the Bentley Piano Company Limited. Founded in 1906, it has roots in 
Grover & Grover (founded 1830), and revived the Grover & Grover brand name. Bentley acquired other companies in the 
1980s, including Rogers, Hopkinson, Gerh, Steinberg, and Zender. In 1993 Bentley itself was acquired by 
WHELPDALE, MAXWELL & CODD and by 2001 had become part of The British Piano Manufacturing Company Limited. 

The Industrial Revolution and the piano industry in England run parallel courses. They both began about the middle of the 
eighteenth century. England led the world in innovations, production techniques, and volume of production until around the 
middle of the nineteenth century. A period of decline was accelerated by World War I, the depression, and World War II, 
while today England holds a modest but stable part of the world market. 

See also Kemble & Company; Whelpdale, Maxwell & Codd 



Bentley Piano Co. Literature. Woodchcster, Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, 1990. 
British Music Yearbook. London: Rhinegold Publishing, 1990. 
Broadwood & Sons. Literature. Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, England. 
Colt,C.F. The Early Piano. London: Stainer & Bell, 1981. 

Gill, Dominic. The Book of the Piano. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Grover, David S. The Piano: Its Story from Zither to Grand. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1978. 
Harrison, Sidney. Grand Piano . London: Faber and Faber, 1976. 

Herzog, Hans Kurt. European Piano Atlas. Frankfurt am Main: Das Musikinstrument, 1978. 

Hollis, Helen Rice. The Piano. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1984. 

Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. Long Beach, Calif.: Pierce Publishing, 1985. 

Sadie, Stanley, ed. The Piano. London: W.W.Norton & Co., 1988. 

Sumner. W.L. The Piano-Forte. London: Macdonald and Jane's, 1971. 

Wier, Albert E. The Piano: Its History, Makers, Players and Music. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1941. 

The principle of the modified early CRISTOFORI action (STOSSMECHANIK) was improved with the addition of an 
ESCAPEMENT by piano makers in England and eventually was referred to as English ACTION. This action can also be 
combined with the German action (Anglo-German Action), in which case the head of the HAMMER, pivoted or hinged to a 
fixed RAIL points toward the KEYBOARD. 

See also Actions; Stossmechanik 




Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Mill, Franz Josef. Stringed Key hoard Instruments 1440-1880. Translated by M.Boehme-Brown. Boston, Mass.: Boston Book and Art Shop, 

1968. Also, Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Dietikon-Zurich: Urs Graf (distributed in the U.S. by Da Capo Press), 1981 
Marcuse, S> bil. Musical Instruments: . 1 Compivheiishv Dictionary. New York: Norton, 1975. 

New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edite by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press; Washington D.C.: Grove's Dictionaries, 

Sadie, Stanley, ed. The Piano. New York: Norton, 1988. 




The enharmonic piano, also called quarter-tone piano, is a piano having more than twelve intervals to the octave. Simple 
modulation from A # to B b , C to B # , and so on, was the subject of much experimentation around the end of the nineteenth 
century, and G.A. Behrens-Senegaldens of Berlin PATENTED a quartertone piano in 1892, the same year that he published 
his theory of quarter-tone music. 

August Forster made an enharmonic GRAND piano for the Moravian pianist Alois Haba (1893-1973) in the 1920s. This 
was a pair of superimposed instruments with one KEYBOARD having six rows of KEYS — three white and three black — to 
produce quarter- tones. Haba, a quarter-tone protagonist, claimed to be able to sing the five divisions of each semitone, sixty to 
the octave (72 and 84 divisions have been featured in experimental harmoniums and organs). GROTRIAN-STEINWEG also 
made a "double grand," this with black, white, and brown keys, and twenty notes to the octave. 

Moritz Stoehr of New York built a quarter-tone piano in 1924, as did the Russian Ivan Alexandrovich Vyschnegradsky in 
the late 1920s in Paris. In 1930 Hans Barth made a piano along this principle and performed his own piano concerto upon it. 
Their high cost, complexity, and weight made these instruments uneconomical to produce, and the 1929-1930 recession killed 
off further development. The concept of quarter-tone music is sustained today thanks to the capabilities of ELECTRONIC 
musical instruments. 



Fhrlieh, C\ ril. The Piano: . I History. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Grove, Sir George. Dictionary of Music & Musicians. 1st ed. London: Macmillan, 1879. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1974; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America, 1890-1940. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina, 1989. 

Scholes, Percy Alfred. Oxford Companion to Music. 10th ed., rev. and reset. Edited by John Owen Ward. London and New York: Oxford 
University Press, 1970. 

The firm of Erard was founded by Sebastien Erard (1752-1831), who was born in Strasbourg. As a young man he moved to 
Paris, where he began making harpsichords. Early in his career he secured noble and royal clients, thereby ensuring that he 
need be concerned only with instruments of the highest quality. At about the time of the French Revolution he opened a 
branch in England. 

Erard's early work seems to have been remarkable for its quality rather than for technical innovations. In the early years of 
the nineteenth century he became interested in improving the GRAND PIANO. Erard's early grands generally followed the 
English model, although he made a few Viennese-action instruments. His first invention to achieve widespread use was the 
provision of separate flanges for the HAMMERS of ENGLISH-ACTION pianos. While this innovation did not affect the playing 
quality of the instrument — indeed, the practice of hinging a dozen or more hammers with a continuous WIRE remained 
common well into the late nineteenth century — it did make it much more convenient to adjust the positions of the hammers. 

His next invention of importance was the AGRAFFE. This is usually explained as a means of preventing the STRINGS 
from being driven upward by hard blows of the hammers. However, VIENNESE PIANOS of the mid- 1 840s were normally made 
without either agraffes or CAPO TASTO bars. This is true even of instruments by the best makers, in which no problems of 
strings lifting are to be observed, even during violent passages in pieces by FRANZ LISZT. Perhaps a more important reason 


for the invention of the agraffe was the inherent weakness of the wrest plank (PINBLOCK) in English-style pianos. To allow 
an action of reasonable design to function properly, these pianos have wrest planks thinner than those of harpsichords. The 
agraffe makes it possible to provide more reinforcement to the wrest plank. The Viennese action allows the use of much 
heavier wrest planks, and thus the agraffe offers little advantage there. 

At about the same time that he introduced the agraffe (1808), Erard also brought out his first repetition action. The simple 
action used by Erard and his French contemporaries for SQUARE PIANOS lacked a true ESCAPEMENT, but this had the 
advantage that a note could be repeated without letting the KEY return completely to its original height. The escapement 
action in grands lacked this convenience. Erard' s mecanisme a I'etrier of 1808 combined the merits of both actions at the 
expense of a considerable increase in complexity. In 1821 Erard introduced a new repetition action that solved the same 
problem in a mechanically different manner. This second action is the basis of all modern grand piano actions. The 
importance of this invention is generally misunderstood. One frequently finds in modern secondary sources the explanation that 
this device combined the lightness of the Viennese action with the power of the English action, and that it had the sensitivity 
that the English action so notoriously lacked. There seems to be no support for this in period sources or in the instruments 
themselves. Erard grands were noted until at least the middle of the nineteenth century for having exceptionally heavy 
actions. For example, Wilhelm von Lenz, writing of his experiences of the 1840s, remarks that CHOPIN'S (English-action) 
PLEYEL was lighter in TOUCH and easier to play than von Lenz's Erard. If English actions were really so insensitive, it is 
curious that Chopin, a player noted for his fine dynamic shadings, should have used them happily. Indeed, theoretically the 
Erard action should be slightly less sensitive than an English action because of the increased complexity of the linkage 
between key and hammer. 

Erard's was an ingenious solution to problems of action design that became acute after 1850. As piano hammers grew 
heavier, the touch grew heavier. Easing the leverage ratios to give a deeper touch made the resistance less but increased the 
difficulty of rapid repetition. The Erard action not only eased the repetition difficulty; the peculiarities of the design made it 
possible to counterweight the keys to further lighten the touch. Also, the Erard action was a technological sales gimmick at a 
time when 'new inventions were very much in the public mind. 

Whatever the merits of their actions, Erard pianos were typically extremely well made and well finished. By the standards 
of their time, their TONE was exceptionally powerful, clear, and well suited to concert use. As Sebastien Erard sank into old 
age and death ( 1 83 1), his nephew Pierre (1 794-1 855) took over the management of the firm. Pierre was very effective at ensuring 
that people of social and musical renown used Erard pianos. This sometimes involved giving or loaning pianos free of charge, 
but the firm was large and wealthy enough to absorb the expense. With Erards in the possession of Queen Victoria, Felix 
Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, and Sigismond Thalberg, it seemed obvious to many affluent and/or musical people that Erard 
pianos were the best available. 

In 1838 the Erard Company PATENTED its "harmonic bar." This combination of a continuous agraffe with a bar provided 
both rigid support for the treble strings and structural reinforcement for the wrest plank. It also was probably the inspiration 
for the capo tasto bar that is so common today. Indeed, the Erard firm abandoned its original design for the capo tasto 
sometime in the 1860s. 

While Sebastien and Pierre Erard made important contributions to the design of the modern piano, it should be emphasized 
that the excellence of their instruments was due to the skill and taste with which the various elements of their designs were 
combined to make instruments of exceptional musical quality. Also, it should be mentioned that much of the evolution of 
their design involved features such as SOUNDBOARD design, hammer size and composition, FRAME, SCALE, and 
STRIKE POINTS, that do not lend themselves to concise, simple descriptions. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Erard craftsmen had arrived at a basic type of instrument that was to 
characterize their work into the early 1920s. They experimented continuously with details of de sign, some of them musically 
significant. Their grands were parallel-strung with a relatively light metal frame composed of separate pieces. The actions 
were a modification of their original 1821 design and had under-dampers, and the checks were in front of the hammers. The 
tone of these pianos is characterized by clarity and a very marked change in tone color from soft to loud. In the late 1870s or 
earlier, the largest CONCERT GRANDS by Erard began to be provided with a range of ninety notes, GGG-c 5 . These 
enlarged concert pianos were arguably the most sophisticated concert pianos ever designed; they combined the clarity and 
range of color of some early nineteenth century designs with an enormous dynamic range and considerable power and 

In the late nineteenth century Erard was threatened by German competition. The American-inspired German designs were 
better suited to large-scale production and required less hand work. Wages in France were low, but in England they rose, and 
this was probably behind the decision to close the Erard factory in London in 1890. Erard opened a new concert hall in 
London shortly thereafter and continued to sell pianos in England. More serious than a purely commercial threat, the new 
German pianos presented a new aesthetic with considerable appeal to late-nineteenth-century tastes. Their tone was fatter and 
more velvety than the Erard ideal. This involved some sacrifice of clarity and variety of tone color, but it also made these 
pianos more forgiving of clumsy left hands and pounding right ones. Erard was the piano of Gabriel Faure and Maurice Ravel, 


and Claude Debussy was certainly well-acquainted with them; but German pianos gained prestige from German musicians 
and music schools, and pianists trained on German instruments were often disdainful of French ones, particularly Erards. In 
1901 Erard introduced its own OVERSTRUNG pianos, and sometime between 1923 and 1928 the old models were 

The history of Erard after 1914 is one of decline. As with most piano companies, the effects of two world wars and the 
Great Depression were very bad for both profits and quality. After World War II the Erard was no longer an artist's instrument. 
German and American pianos became the standard of excellence in France. When the French market was opened to foreign 
competition, Erard failed. In 1971 the SCHIMMEL Company of Braunschweig acquired rights to the Erard name, and French 
production ceased. 

See also Actions 



Dossier Erard. Introduction by Anik Derries. Geneva: Minkoff, 1980. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Hipkins, Alfred. A Description and History of the Piano-Forte and of the Older Keyboard Stringed Instruments. London: Novello, 1896. 
Reprint. New York: AMS Press, 1977. 

Hirt, Franz Josef. Stringed Keyboard Instruments. Boston, Mass.: Boston Book and Art Shop, 1968. (Original German edition published by 
Urs Graf-Verlag of Olten, Switzerland, 1955.) 

Escapement can be described as a nonblocking ACTION system, consisting of all those parts of a piano-action mechanism 
that enable the HAMMER to move toward the STRINGS, while still allowing the hammer to be disengaged right before 
striking the strings. Thus, even if the KEY is still depressed, the vibration of the strings is not blocked. The escapement 
mechanism allows for the fast repetition of a note. BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI invented such a device as early as the 
beginning of the eighteenth century. SEBASTIEN ERARD later developed a refined repetition action that heightened the 
responsiveness of the escapement mechanism. 

See also Actions; Erard 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers . Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
liirl, Franz Josef. Stringed Keyboard Instruments 1440-1880. Translated by M. Boehme-Brown. Boston, Mass.: Boston Book and Art Shop, 

1968. Also, Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Dietikon-Ziirich: Urs Graf (distributed in the U.S. by Da Capo Press), 1981. 
.Vlarcuse. S\ bil. Musical Instruments: .1 Comprehensive Dictionary. New York: Norton, 1975. 

New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stan- ley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press; Washington D.C.: Grove's 

Dictionaries, 1984. 
Sadie, Stanley, ed. The Piano. New York: Norton, 1988. 

The Euphonicon is a type of HARP-PIANO (or, more accurately, harp-shaped UPRIGHT PIANO, since the STRINGS are 
struck, not plucked) invented by John Steward (English PATENT no. 9,023; 1841) and manufactured by F.Beale and 
Company, 201 Regent Street, London. It is bichord and vertically strung and has: (1) a complete iron FRAME in which the 
harp-shaped upper part of the section supporting the bass strings is open to view; (2) a complicated provision of 
SOUNDBOARDS and resonators attempting visually to simulate the curved shoulders of cello, viola, and violin; (3) unusual 
stringing and TUNING arrangements; (4) an early example of a "drop-action." The mechanism consists of a tape-check, 
overdamper upright ACTION, mounted beneath the level of the KEYBOARD. This action is divided into two sections: in the 
bass area the HAMMERS strike near the bottom of their strings; from the region of d 1 upward hammers strike near the top of 
their strings. Overdamping on number 131 finishes at g 2 sharp. The soft PEDAL shifts the complete action (on rollers) to the 

Public COLLECTIONS with examples include the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, New York; America's Shrine to Music Museum, Vermillion, South Dakota; and the Reid Collection, University of 
Edinburgh (no. 131, dated 1843). The sound of the Edinburgh instrument is mellow, rather like that of a CABINET PIANO. 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Libin, Laurence. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." The Harpsichord and la>ricj>iano Magazine 4, no. 7 (April 1989): 178-84. 

Patents for Inventions. Abridgments of Specifications Relating to Music and Musical Instruments. London, 1871 . Facs Published by Tony 
Bingham, London, 1984:136-7. 

Victoria and Albert Museum (ed. Howard Schott). Catalogue of Musical Instruments. Vol . 1. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 2d 
ed., 1985:122-3. 

The Everett Piano Company was a manufacturer that became popular in the Midwest. Founded in 1883 by the John Church 
Company, a musical instrument dealer of Cincinnati, Everett first produced UPRIGHT and GRAND PIANOS, later adding 
PLAYER PIANOS to their list of products. The firm remained quite small and after several decades it fell behind the rest of 
the industry in sales growth. 

In 1926 Everett was acquired by the owners of the CABLE -NELSON COMPANY, who took the Everett Company name 
and moved production of Everett pianos while still also continuing Cable-Nelson pianos at South Haven, Michigan. During the 
following years, the production of uprights and players at South Haven declined rapidly as in the rest of the industry and 
Everett made the transition to production of SPINETS, CONSOLES, and studio upright pianos by the middle 1930s. 
Production of a small number of Everett grand pianos continued. Piano manufacturing was interrupted when Everett produced 
wooden-glider parts during World War II. 

After the war, the firm prospered as sales of Everett and Cable-Nelson pianos continued to grow. Everett studio uprights 
were especially popular for school use. To meet growing demands, the South Haven factory was enlarged and modernized by 
the installation of new types of efficient equipment. 

In 1962, with its plans to enter the piano industry, the Hammond Organ Company acquired Everett. When after eight years 
(1970) the new owners did not find piano manufacturing 'as profitable as expected, Hammond sold Everett to the United 
Industrial Syndicate, a group of investors. Three years later Everett was sold again, this time to YAMAHA International 
Corporation. Yamaha took further steps in modernization and began to manufacture Yamaha as well as Everett vertical pianos 
in South Haven. When Yamaha moved its U.S. piano production to its plant in Thomaston, Georgia, in 1986, pianos with the 
Everett name continued to be built in South Haven by BALDWIN, using Yamaha designs. This arrangement between 
Baldwin and Yamaha ceased in 1989 and the Everett name was then permanently dropped. 



Dolge, Alfred. Men Who Made Piano History. Covina, Calif: Covina Publishing Co ., 1913. New York: Vestal Press, 1980. 
"Everett Marks 100th with Townwide Celebration." The Music Trades (September 1983): 38. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 3d ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 1994. 
"Yamaha's First Century." The Music Trader (August 1987): 72. 

During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, international exhibitions and world's fairs gave piano manufacturers 
opportunities to compete for prizes and recognition. Three fairs — those of 1851, 1867, and 1873 — were especially important, 
in part because they acknowledged the accomplishments of piano manufacturers in the United States. 

Trade fairs have been held throughout the centuries, and a few of the most important — like those of Leipzig and Frankfurt — 
have grown during the past hundred years from vegetable markets into enormous exhibits of space-age technology. 
Pianofortes of various kinds were occasionally exhibited and sold at fairs as early as the 1780s, but it was during the 
nineteenth century that international expositions influenced the piano as a commercially viable musical instrument. The 
principal expositions took place in London (1851, 1862), New York City (1853-1854), Paris (1855, 1867, 1878, 1889, 1900), 
Vienna (1873), Philadelphia (1876), Chicago (1893), Saint Louis, Missouri (1904), and San Francisco (1915). The most 
important of these, however — at least insofar as the piano was concerned — were the Great Exhibition presented in London in 
1851, the Exposition Universelle presented in Paris in 1867, and the Welt-Ausstellung presented in Vienna in 1873. 


Subsequent fairs of comparable size and general importance — including those held in Paris (1937), New York (1939-1940), 
Brussels (1958), Montreal (1967), and Osaka (1970) — exerted little influence on piano technology. 

The first of the great "piano" fairs, presented in London in 1851, was known formally as the "Great Exhibition of the 
Works of Industry of All Nations." Housed in the magnificent Crystal Palace (destroyed by bombing during World War II), 
the exhibition was the first trade fair to award prizes for pianos manufactured on at least two continents: Europe and North 
America. The commercial and scientific orientation of the exhibition created some curious situations. Complete pianos, for 
example, were considered "philosophical instruments" (as were surgical gear, microscopes, and cameras); piano WIRE, on 
the other hand, was "hardware." Most of the pianos at the exhibition were handsomely constructed standard SQUARE, 
UPRIGHT, or smaller GRAND PIANOS. A few were novelties; one instrument, for instance, was housed in a papier-mache 
box. Several kinds of prizes were offered, among them Council Medals and Prize Medals (the latter less distinguished) as 
well as certificates of honourable mention. The only Council Medal for pianos, awarded for "peculiar mechanical ACTIONS 
applied to pianofortes and harps," was won by ERARD of Paris. Several firms received Prize Medals, though; among them 
were Addison of London (for a "transposing pianoforte"), Breitkopf & Hartel of Leipzig, and CHICKERING of Boston. 
Already American pianos were challenging European instruments; Chickering's was the only American piano to win a medal, 
but two other builders — Meyer of Philadelphia, and Gilbert and Company of Boston — were acknowledged in the official 
catalog, the latter for a "pianoforte with Aeolian attachment." 

American instruments won a number of prizes at the New York Exhibition of 1853-1854, but the firm of 
STEINWAY & SONS (established in March 1853) was then too new to compete. By 1855, however, Steinway took a Gold 
Medal at the second "Crystal Palace" New York Exhibition of 1855. Twelve years later Steinway won a Gold Medal (the 
highest honor any piano manufacturer received) at the Paris Exposition of 1867. Chickering also won a Gold Medal in Paris, 
as did BROADWOOD of London and STREICHER and Sons of Vienna. Silver Medals were awarded to several dozen lesser 
competitors, including MASON & HAMLIN of Boston and New York. European firms that won Silver Medals included 
BECHSTEIN of Berlin and BOSEN-DORFER of Vienna. A special award went to M.Schaf-fer of Erard's firm: he was made 
a Knight of the Legion of Honor for his contributions to French culture and commerce. (Controversy raged for months among 
manufacturers about the superiority of medals versus knighthoods.) More significant historically, though, were the words of 
praise lavished on American piano manufacturers as a class. The official report issued by America's Commissioners to the 
Exposition, for example, stated that "in no branch of industry did the United States win more distinction. . .than in the 
manufacture of pianofortes. The splendid specimens exhibited by the two firms[of] Messrs. Steinway & Sons, of New York, 
and Messrs. Chickering, of Boston, created a profound sensation not only with artists and professional musicians, but also 
with the musical public at large." Even Francois- Joseph Fetis — a member of the 1867 Paris jury that awarded Gold Medals to 
Steinway and Chickering, and a critic noted for his discernment — expressed few reservations. Also notable was the general 
absence at Paris of eccentric or merely amusing pianos; jury members and visitors alike seem to have been more interested in 
quality of construction than novelty of invention. A "cycloid" piano exhibited by Lindeman & Sons, a New York firm, was 
one of several curiosities, but even the American commissioners reported that it "attracted some attention by its peculiarity of 
form, but received no recompense from the jury." Improved grand pianos had also begun to replace earlier models as prize- 
winners. Edwin Good has called the Steinway grands first built in 1864 and exhibited three years later in Paris "our first 
modern" concert instruments. 

By 1873 American manufacturing methods had captured the imaginations of German firms (though not of the French or 
British). As a consequence, German and Austrian firms swept the boards at the 1873 Vienna Exhibition; the instruments were 
European, but the designs and mass-production techniques American. Attempts at the 1878 Paris Exposition to denounce 
American designs and methods proved futile; by the beginning of the twentieth century, most of the pianos made and sold 
around the world were American in origin or style. Pianos displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia also 
testified to American progress, and few European manufacturers bothered to compete. 

Pianos of various kinds continued to win medals at early twentieth-century world's fairs, but technical improvements 
ceased to attract spectators. Experiments like the JANKO keyboard were incomprehensible to the general public, and 
manufacturing developments like Dolge's HAMMER-covering machine were marketed successfully without world's fair 
publicity. Instead, electric gadgets and devices like the phonograph and REPRODUCING PIANOS became the rage; these 
were eventually forgotten under a deluge of new discoveries and inventions. Consequently, international exhibitions after 
1915 changed piano history little, if at all. Historical exhibitions, on the other hand, have helped make the evolution of piano 
technologies and the instrument's overall artistic and cultural impact better understood. "Piano 300," among the most 
important of these events, was held in Washington, D.C., from March 2000 to October 2001 and celebrated the instrument's 
three-hundred-year history. In addition to recitals, shows, and other events, the exhibit itself placed before the American 
public pianos ranging in age, quality, and character from a CRISTOFORI 49-key grand (borrowed from a museum in Rome) 
to a YAMAHA DISKLAVIER and several recent makes of electronic keyboards. 




Allwood, John. The Great Exhibitions. London: Studio Vista, 1977. 

Arnold, Janice. "American Pianos: Revolution and Triumphs." Clavier 26, no. 6 (July-August 1987): 16-22. 

Closson, Ernest ' / ( Brussels: P les etablissements degrace a Hon . 1 ( ) 

Dalennoy, Manuelle. "La facture instrumentale espagnole aux expositions universelles parisiennes de 1855 a 1900." Nassarre: Revista 

aragonesa de musicologia 10, no. 2 (1944): 9-17. 
Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Modern Concert Grand. 

Stanford Calif.: Stanford University Press , 1982. 
Haine, Malou. "Participation des facteurs d'instruments de musique aux expositions nationales et universelles du 19 e siecle." Musique, 

images instruments: Revue francaise d'organologie et d'iconographie musicale 1 (1995): 76-83. 
Hoover, Cynthia Adams, with Patrick Rucker and Edwin M. Good. Piano 300: Celebrating Three Centuries of People and Pianos. 

Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution), 200 1 . 
Musical Instruments in the 1851 Exhibition. Edited by Peter and Ann Mactaggart. Welwyn, Engl.: Mac & Me, 1986. 
Paul, Oscar. Geschichte des Claviers vom Ursprunge bis zu den modernsten Formen des Instruments. Leipzig: A.H.Payne, 1868. 
Reports of the United States Commissioners to the Paris Universal Exposition, 1867. 5 vols. Edited by William P.Blake. Washington D.C.: 

Government Printing Office, 1870. 
Rindlisbacher, Otto. Das Klavier in der Schweitz: Klavichord — Spinett — Cembalo — Pianoforte. Bern and Munich: Francke, 1972. 
Schelle. L "Musikalische I nsSrumcnte." In Offlcieller Ausstellungs-Bericht. Vol.15. Vienna: 1873. 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development, and the Dade. New York: D.Spillanc. 1890. Reprint. 
New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

An expression piano is an automatic or SELF-PLAYING PIANO in which a degree of pianistic interpretation or expression 
is achieved automatically by means of specially-made perforated-paper music rolls, which can control the operating vacuum 
pressure as well as the operation of the sustaining and soft PEDALS of the piano. Although sometimes referred to as semi- 
reproducing pianos, this is not strictly accurate. 

From the early years of the twentieth century, makers of self-playing pianos attempted a variety of means by the use of 
which the illusion of a hand-played performance might be produced. As early as 1895 mechanical PIANO PLAYERS and 
PLAYER PIANOS had been equipped with a rudimentary means by which the treble notes could be played louder than those 
in the bass, and vice versa. This, although crude, was the start of a quest for not so much automation of the piano and its 
music, as for replication of the real performer. The goal of the REPRODUCING PIANO was still some years away as inventors 
experimented with the now-universally accepted pneumatic actions. 

When in 1900 James William Crooks of the AEOLIAN COMPANY invented the Themodist expression system, whereby 
individual notes could be made to sound out over or within an accompaniment, virtually every other major maker of piano 
players and player pianos took up the principle. Because Aeolian PATENTED the system and protected the name, others were 
forced to use a variety of names such as Accenter, Solotheme, Automelle, Solodant, and suchlike. 

It was then found that by varying the vacuum tension of the air between the left and right halves of the valve chest or stack 
(see PLAYER PIANO for explanation) and combining this with a Themodist-type accenter, and applying the same technique 
to both halves of the KEYBOARD, a much more realistic performance could be produced. 

The pianos that used this type of artificially enhanced music-roll performance were almost always electrically driven (the 
operating vacuum was produced by a suction bellows worked by a motor) and were called "expression pianos," and they were 
mainly produced in Germany and America as instruments for use in public places such as cafes, diners, and soda fountains. 
Musical capabilities (and volume of noise) were frequently enhanced by the incorporation of percussion instruments and, 
occasionally, string-toned organ pipes worked by a subsidiary pressure wind chest. 

The era of the expression piano did not cease with the later perfection of the reproducing piano, and instruments offering up 
to seven or more degrees of artificial expression were made right up into the 1930s. Cheaper than the reproducing instruments, 
they were ideally suited to playing dance tunes and other popular music in places of public use. 

See also Player Piano; Reproducing Piano 



Bowers, Q.David. Encyclopaedia of Automatic Musical Instruments. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1972. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola — History & Development ... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

Creating a repeatable copy of an extemporary keyboard performance has been a challenge to musical inventors for 
centuries. The term commonly used for such a process before the age of electronics is "melography," this from the name of 


the instrument designed by Leonard Euler, the Swiss mathematician. The Reverend J. Creed, an English clergyman, proposed 
a machine "to write down extempore voluntaries as fast as any master shall be able to play them upon an Organ, Harpsichord, 
etc." News of the device was not published until 1747, after Creed's death. 

Euler's Melograph was built by Hohlfeld in Berlin in about 1752 and consisted of two revolving cylinders with a band of 
paper passing over them. Note positions and duration were marked onto the paper by the use of pencils connected to the piano 
ACTION. Hohlfeld' s instrument was preserved in the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Berlin until the building was 
destroyed by fire. 

Johann Friedrich Unger of Einbeck challenged Euler, claiming to have invented a similar machine in 1745. Among the few 
surviving instruments of this type is the "compound harpsichord" made by JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN who was working in 
London at Little Queen Ann Street, Saint Marylebone in 1774. In that year Merlin created a five-octave harpsichord with a 
down-striking piano action. This curious instrument, preserved today in the Deutsches Museum, Munich, incorporates a 
copying-machine driven by a clockwork motor so that the music played is converted into a series of pencil lines of varying 
length on a strip of paper as it passes over a roller. 

There were many other attempts at making similar devices (including the "Melographic piano" presented to the French 
Institute in 1827 by one M.Carreyre), but among those who worked to a greater or lesser extent must be mentioned 
JEAN-HENRI PAPE, who worked in Paris with PLEYEL and was accorded no fewer than 137 inventions, including the first 
use of CROSS-STRINGING in Paris (ca.1828). His machine appeared in 1824 and although it improved on those that had 
come before it, it still left unsolved problems of varying rhythms and tempo. 

In 1836 another Parisian named Eisenmenger was granted a PATENT for a melographic apparatus that was the first to 
incorporate a means for measuring off the bars. This received a British Patent, no. 7,058 of 1836, in the name of Miles Berry. 
By the late 1880s inventors in America and Europe were seeking what many by then considered to be a chimera, but in 1881 
Jules Carpentier exhibited at the Paris Exhibition a "repeating Melograph" attached to a small harmonium. Its inventor stated 
that it was to write down ordinary music played extemporaneously on the instrument dans le langage [sic] de Jacquard. The 
system operated by punching holes in paper electro-mechanically to produce a "note-sheet," which could then be played back 
using another apparatus. 

The refinement of the process came with the expansion of moves toward producing music mechanically, first through the 
small reed-playing organette and then through the PIANO PLAYER and PLAYER PIANO. In these it was obviously of 
importance to find a means of producing a replayable "recording" using paper perforated in such a way that a musical 
performance could be recreated. 

Practical melography did indeed come with the music -roll industry, which connected a piano to a punching machine 
(initially pneumatically, then by electricity) so that a master music roll could be produced from a live keyboard performance. 
The ultimate came with the encoding not just of the notes but the nuances of expression, achieved with the 
REPRODUCING PIANO, which gave birth to performances by named artists on reproducing-piano music-rolls. 



Grove, Sir George. Dictionary of Music & Musicians. 1st ed. London: Macmillan, 1879. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1974; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

McTammany, John. The Technical History of the Player. New York: Musical Courier, 1915. Reprint. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1971. 

Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

. Pianola — History & Development... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 

. The Mcchanic\ of Mechanical Music. London: OrdHume, 1973. 



This piano manufacturing company was incorporated in January 1984, by Santi Falcone, a piano technician and owner of a 
chain of seven retail piano stores. Falcone sought to make a GRAND PIANO of high quality that would compete with the 
finest European and American makes and which, at the same time, would be affordable. 

In 1978 Falcone began to experiment with this idea at his workshop in Woburn, Massachusetts, and he sold his chain of 
retail stores to New England Piano and Organ, in order to make time and money available for the new project. He attracted a 
number of investors and technicians well known to Boston's long tradition of piano making. His first instrument was a six- 
foot grand piano finished in 1982; it was followed the next year by a nine-foot CONCERT GRAND. He displayed these early 
models at his one remaining store in Woburn. At first his fledgling company made about two pianos a month and he 
employed eleven technicians. In 1985 the company bought and renovated an old shoe-factory in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to 
use as its factory. It opened in February 1986, and by the summer of that year a showroom/concert hall was in progress for the 
top floor of the building. In that same year the company opened another showroom in Boston. By 1987 Falcone had forty 
workers and was turning out four or five pianos a month. The company added dealerships in Detroit and other American 
cities, and by 1989 had increased its size to sixty employees producing about ten to twelve pianos a month. 

Falcone Company specialized in grand pianos, building only three sizes — a nine-foot model, a seven-foot-four-inch size 
and a six-foot-one-inch size. The firm did not build a BABY GRAND (ca. five feet in length), possibly because Falcone in his 
effort to achieve optimal tonal quality in his instruments realized that such a goal was impossible to attain in so small an 
instrument and was unwilling to produce a piano which would compromise tonal quality for the sake of style. Much of the work 
was done by hand, 500-600 hours per piano: the pinning, the felting, and the positioning of CAPSTANS were examples of 
such hand work. The FINISH might be black ebony or one of the natural wood grains such as walnut, oak, or rosewood; the 
RIMS were of laminated maple held together with Franklin glue; the pedal LYRES were of poplar. SOUNDBOARDS were 
made of Adirondack white spruce, a soft wood particularly suited to extremes of weather change. Falcone PATENTED a 
"soundboard calibrator," which is a special soundboard-tuning device that alters the TONE color of the piano. The ACTION, 
built by the prestigious German firm of RENNER to Falcone's specifications, was installed, adjusted, and regulated at the 
Falcone plant. The company bought its STRINGS from Germany and had a policy of using no plastic parts. The cast-iron 
FRAMES, or PLATES, made according to Falcone's own wooden patterns, were cast at the Graniteville Foundry in Westford, 

In 1991 Falcone encountered financial problems in his efforts to expand; and in order to raise the needed funds it was decided 
to sell stock in the company on the open market. Bernard Greer, a prosperous business man who had been favorably 
impressed by his own Falcone piano, invested heavily in the Falcone Piano Company and later bought the remaining 
shares. Shortly thereafter, he also bought the names, technical specifications, and manufacturing rights to the SOHMER, 
George Steck, KNABE, and MASON & HAMLIN pianos, which, along with the Falcone name, he christened the Mason & 
Hamlin Companies, probably because the Mason & Hamlin name was the best known of the group. Financial problems 
persisted, and in 1996 the company filed for bankruptcy and was bought by Gary and Kirk Burgett, owners of PianoDisc, an 
electronic piano-playing system. The Falcone piano, though an upscale instrument, does not seem to have attracted enough 
attention to be listed in the Purchaser 's Guide to the Music Industries. The only mention found was one in conjunction with 
Mason & Hamlin. The Falcone piano is not currently in production, and its owners have no plans to reintroduce it. 

See also Mason & Hamlin 



Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 


Ferguson, Laura. "Creating the Perfect, Affordable Piano." North Shore Weekender of the Essex County Newspapers (16 May 1985): Dl 
and D8. 

Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 10th ed., Albuquerque, New Mexico: Larry E.Ashley, 1997. 
Rhodes, Lucien. "Piano Man."/«c. 9 (January 1987): 52-6. 

"Widely Acclaimed Pianos Symbolize Old Massachusetts City's Resurgence." New York Times (22 March 1987): sect. 1, p. 44. 

Also referred to as the "dustboard" or "NAMEBOARD," the fallboard is a board of one or more pieces designed to cover 
the piano KEYS. 

See also Case; Nameboard 



In the late 1980s Darrell Fandrich (pronounced FOND-rick), a twenty-two-year veteran concert piano tuner-technician for 
Sherman and Clay/STEINWAY, introduced the Fandrich Vertical Action (FVA). Fifteen years in development, this novel 
ACTION for UPRIGHT PIANOS incorporates a repetition spring and individually adjustable LET-OFF for each KEY, 
allowing the action to imitate the responsiveness of a GRAND PIANO action: fast repetition and better control over 
dynamics. Darrell Fandrich licensed Fandrich Piano Company, founded by his brother Delwin Fandrich, to assemble the FVA 
from special parts made by RENNER and others. Delwin Fandrich was formerly head of Research and Development at 
BALDWIN PIANO AND ORGAN COMPANY. He founded Fandrich Piano Company in 1989 to experiment with 
innovative, even radical, piano design to complement his brother's FVA. In 1993 the company launched the Fandrich brand 
forty-eight-inch upright, which plays and sounds more like a grand piano. Among the innovations of this piano are: (1) the 
Fandrich Vertical Action; (2) a unified PLATE, PIN BLOCK, and back structure that eliminates the need for traditional 
backposts; (3) a continuous treble BRIDGE; (4) a PATENTED SOUNDBOARD design utilizing acoustical theory to make it 
function like a modern audio speaker system — bass frequencies use the entire board, while tenor and treble use smaller 
defined areas. Fandrich claims that this results in exceptional tonal clarity. 

Fandrich Piano closed in 1994 after building only ninety-six instruments, but Delwin Fandrich then founded PianoBuilders 
NorthWest (Hoquiam, Washington) with partner Larry Graddy. This unique company specializes in engineering innovative 
SCALE, soundboard, and action designs for the trade, and in "remanufacturing" and "upgrading" existing pianos (which the 
company calls "Value-Added Rebuilding"). Meanwhile, Darrell Fandrich had founded Fandrich & Sons in Seattle in 1993, 
originally to sell Fandrich pianos. Fandrich & Sons now rebuilds other makes of upright, mostly pianos from Guangzhou 
Pearl River Piano Group (China), but also from SAMICK/Hyundai (South Korea), installing the Fandrich action and selling 
the pianos under the Fandrich & Sons brand name. A new 49/4-inch upright model was introduced in April 2001, built by 
Klima (Czech Republic), featuring the FVA entirely built by Renner. Fandrich & Sons also offers the FVA in German-made 
Wilhelm Steinberg 48-inch and 51 -inch upright pianos. 

Delwin Fandrich forcefully asserts that archaic design in U.S. piano building is a key to the trade's decline: "One of the 
major problems within our industry has been its lack of progress — more specifically, its lack of interest in making any 
progress — in the development of the fundamental design and performance of the piano. It is inexcusable that our industry is 
today still building pianos that sound no better than those designed and built between 1880 and 1930. The declining condition 
of our industry is one indication of the failure of this policy." Both Fandrich brothers teach at Piano Technicians Guild 
conventions and are published in the Guild's journal. 



Fandrich & Sons Pianos ( Internet homepage for Darrell Fandrich's company, the developer of the Fandrich Vertical Action. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th edition. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 2000. See also his Annual Supplement to the Piano Book. 
PianoBuilders NorthWest ( Internet homepage for Delwin Fandrich's company (the successor to Fandrich Piano 

PianoWorld ( "Piano World Forums." This site offers discussion forums among piano tuners, pianists, and customers 
regarding all piano brands, including Fandrich and the FVA. The forums are easily accessed by search engine. 

Pianos Online ( "Manufacturer Directory: Fandrich Piano Co./Fandrich & Sons." An Internet resource offering 
extensive piano information, including up-to-date historical profiles of piano manufacturers and their trademarks worldwide. 

U.S. International Trade Commission. Pianos: Economic and Competitive Conditions Affecting the U.S. Industry. Investigation no. 332- 
401. Publication 3,196. Washington, D.C., May 1999. 
FAZIOLI, PAOLO (b. 1944) 

Born in Rome, Paolo Fazioli graduated from the University of Rome with a degree in mechanical engineering. He also received 
a diploma in piano from the Pesaro Conservatory. At first his main professional activity was in running the family business in 


the manufacture of wood products. In 1978 he decided to dedicate himself to the construction of a CONCERT GRAND 
PIANO with its own unique personality that would be accepted internationally, something that had always been lacking in 
Italy. He enlisted a team consisting of specialists in the field — acousticians, technicians, and pianists — and in 1981 the 
company "Fazioli Pianoforti" was officially founded. That same year it participated at the Musikmesse of Frankfurt, where it 
aroused admiration from an incredulous and skeptical public. From then on success came quickly. Today we can affirm that 
the model F278 (total length 278 cm) is considered on a par with the concert grands produced by the most prestigious 
international firms. The F308, presented with great success in the principal concert halls, is at present the largest concert grand 
available on the world market. 

Among the innovations introduced in the Fazioli piano are a DUPLEX SCALING, totally adjustable, and an added fourth 
PEDAL that brings the complete set of HAMMERS closer to the STRINGS, permitting the pianist to reduce the volume of 
the sound without any modification in timbre. 

The "Fazioli Pianoforti s.r.l," located at Sacile, about forty miles north of Venice, consists of a team of thirty-five 
technicians. As of October 200 1 it had produced about 950 grand pianos, of which 95 percent were sold abroad. Since September 
2001 production has been carried on in a new factory, located next to the old one, where the production capacity will be 150 
instruments per year. Along with the new factory, there is an independent 200-seat concert hall, "The Fazioli Hall." 

Translated by Anna Palmieri 


Carhart, T.E. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank. London: Chatto and Windus, 2000. 
Crombie, David. Piano. London: Balafon Books, 1995. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 1990. 

Woolen felt has always been important in piano construction, particularly in the ACTION. A typical GRAND action may 
contain twenty-five different kinds of felt; this does not include felt strips used under the STRINGS, in the PEDAL action, 
and elsewhere. Felt is used as cushioning to prevent knocks, as BUSHINGS to stop squeaks, as a dampener of vibrations, and 
also as a producer of vibrations. To date, no man-made material has successfully replaced it. 

See also Damper; Hammer 


FERRINI, GIOVANNI (fl. 1699-1758) 

The Florentine harpsichord and pianoforte builder Giovanni Ferrini began his career as a student/apprentice of 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI. The generous patronage of Queen Maria Barbara of Spain and the tremendous admiration of 
Don Carlo Broschi, the famous Italian castrato singer, attest to the excellence of Ferrini's work. However, little is known of 
his life besides the fact that he was active as a builder/restorer of harpsichords and pianofortes from the year 1699 to the time 
of his death in 1758. 

After Cristofori's death in 1732 {stile fiorentin 1731, based on the liturgical calendar), Ferrini remained in Florence, 
possibly as conservator of the musical instrument collection, in the service of Grand Duke Giovan Gastone de' Medici, 
younger son of Grand duke Cosimo III. However, later in 1732 Ferrini left the service of the duke, and the position was filled 
by Pietro Mazzetti. 

There are two signed instruments by Ferrini still in existence. One is a cembalo traverso dated 173 1 with eight-foot and four- 
foot stops and a KEYBOARD range of four octaves (C-c 3 ). It is privately owned by Don Umberto Pineschi of Pistoia, Italy. 
The other is a 1746 COMBINATION harpsichord-pianoforte with a (Cristofori design) hammer-action upper manual and a 
two-register lower manual with the traditional plectrum mechanism. In 1984 it was purchased, and is privately owned, by 
Professor Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini of Milan. This unusual instrument is a fine example of Ferrini's engineering talent and 
it clearly illustrates his skill as a craftsman. The instrument is modeled after prototypes created by Cristofori. Ferrini's 1746 
harpsichord-pianoforte has two keyboards of fifty-seven keys each: GG-e 3 (lacking GG # ), which are similar in structural 
design to an eighteenth-century double manual Italian harpsichord. However, Ferrini's combined harpsichord-pianoforte has 
several distinct new features: (1) the upper manual is a pianoforte and the lower a traditional harpsichord — each keyboard has 
its own complete, independent ACTION system; (2) the instrument' s lower keyboard has (from one to three) ballasted 
LEAD weights on each KEY lever; (3) it has a moveable lower keyboard that may easily be coupled to the upper register 
(pianoforte); and (4) the instrument's general overall SCALE DESIGN was slightly shorter than Cristofori's pianofortes. 
Furthermore, according to Alfons Huber, since both the JACKS and HAMMERS pluck and strike the same (pairs of unison) 
STRINGS, Ferrini's harpsichord-pianoforte was probably strung with both brass and iron strings (the uppermost octave f 2 to 


f 3 was strung with iron). The instrument was restored (1988-1989) by Arnaldo Boldrini and Renato Carnevali in their 
workshop "Mastro del legno" in Bologna. 

Another instrument, a harpsichord attributed to Ferrini, built in 1699, is presently located at the Wiirttem- bergisches 
Museum in Stuttgart. It has a four-and-a-half-octave range, from GG-c 3 , with two eight-foot stops. However, its authenticity 
is not certain. 

According to the inscription located on the NAME-BOARD of a 1666 Girolamo Zenti harpsichord, which is located in the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ferrini restored and altered the instrument in 1755. The instrument's keyboard range was 
expanded by increasing the number of keys in both the bass and treble. 

It is not known exactly how many instruments Ferrini built during his lifetime. However, in addition to the above- 
mentioned instruments, a Ferrini pianoforte was built at Florence in the year 1730 and was purchased by Queen Maria 
Barbara of Spain. Since the queen owned a total of five pianofortes that were constructed in Florence, it is highly probable that 
Ferrini built at least two of them. After the death of the queen in 1758, the 1730 Ferrini pianoforte was bequeathed to the 
renowned castrato singer, Don Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli. Farinelli, who owned a great number of keyboard 
instruments, favored the 1730 Ferrini pianoforte above all others in his collection. In fact, the great singer was so inspired by 
the TONE of the pianoforte that he composed several elegant keyboard compositions exclusively for the instrument. 
Furthermore, he so loved the instrument that he wrote on the nameboard in gold letters, "Rafael d'Urbino, Correggio, Titian, 
Guido," etc., after the great Italian painters. 

Ferrini was an exceptionally gifted builder of fine harpsichords and pianofortes. He proved to be as daring, skillful, and 
adventurous a craftsman as his teacher, Cristofori. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. 
Burney, Charles. The Present State of Music in France and Italy. London, 1771. 
Casella. Alfredo. // pumofortc. 2d ed. Milan: Tumminelli and Co., 1954. 

Fabbri, Mario. L 'alba del pianoforte: Veritd storica sulla nascita del primo cembalo a martelletti. Brescia: V Festival Pianistico 

Internazionale "Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli," 1968. 
Huber, Alfons. "Were the Lady Kalian and Portuguese Pianofortes Strung Entirely w ith Brass?" Das Musikinstrument 37 (January 1988): 


Kinsky, George. Musikhistorisches Museum von Wilhelm I lever in Coin: Katalog. Vol. 1, Besaitete Tasteninstrumente, Orgeln und 

i 1 L( i if i ! 1 I. 1910. 

Kirkpatrick, Ralph. Domenico Scarlatti. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1953. 
Montanari, Giuliana. "Bartolomeo Cristofori." Early Music 19 (August 1991): 383-96. 

Pollens, Stewart. "Three Keyboard Instruments Signed by Cristofori's Assistant, Giovanni Ferrini." Galpin Society Journal 44 (1991): 

Ponsicchi, Cesare. // pianoforte , sua origine e sviluppo. Firenze: Presso G.G.Guidi Editore di Musica, 1876. 

Russell, Raymond. The Harpsichord and Clavichord: An Introductory Study. London: Faber & Faber 1959. Reprint. New York: 1973. 
Sacchi, Giovenale. Vita del Cavaliere Don Carlo Broschi. Milano, 1784. 

Tagliavini, Luigi Ferdinando. Catalogue ofLuigi Tagliavini (1989). Fribourg: UNI Institut de Musicologie (Photocopy). 
."Giovanni f errini and His Harpsichord 'a Penne e a Martelletti. '"Early Music 19 (August 1991): 399-408. 

Julius Gustav Feurich (1821-1900) learned the art of piano construction in the first half of the nineteenth century in Paris at 
the renowned company of PLEYEL. After his return to Germany in 1851 he founded the Feurich firm in Leipzig. He was one 
of the first to bring the craft of UPRIGHT PIANO construction from France to Germany and to begin producing these 
instruments. To secure his position as an upright-piano producer he made a contract with Julius BLUTHNER, the owner of 
the other well-known piano company in Leipzig, that for a number of years he would build only upright pianos and Bluthner 
would only construct GRANDS. However, in 1855 both companies began to produce both types of keyboard instruments. 
Feurich grew steadily and by 1911 a large new factory of 5,000 square meters was constructed in Leipzig-Leutzsch. In its 
prime — a short time before World War I — the number of employees rose to 360, who produced 1,000 uprights and 600 
grands annually. In the 1920s and 1930s production declined. 

During the 1930s Feurich was one of the most recognized makes in Germany. Worldwide there were between fifty and 
sixty concert halls where a Feurich CONCERT GRAND was the house instrument. During World War II the parent factory in 
Leipzig was destroyed. The factory in Leipzig-Leutzsch escaped the bombs of the war, but because of the lack of living space 
the building was converted into residential quarters, although two floors became working space for the relaunching of piano 


Throughout its history the company has been led by several generations of the Feurich family: Hermann Heinrich (1854— 
1925), son of founder Julius; Erich and Julius Adolf (1885-1973), sons of Hermann; Julius Hermann (b. 1924), great- 
grandson of the founder, who began to rebuild the firm after World War II. 

In 1949-1950 Julius Feurich contacted Carl Muller (1900-1968), who had been a representative of Feurich in the 1920s 
and 1930s but had left the firm to buy out the Euterpe Piano Company of Berlin and another failing Berlin firm, the 
W.Hoffmann Company. Feurich now suggested that he assist Muller in constructing a new factory in Langlau on the former 
site of a munitions factory; this became the location of the Euterpe Piano Company. With a staff of seven people the factory 
produced uprights and repaired furniture and other items made of wood. 

In 1958 Feurich, along with other older companies, was nationalized by the socialist government of East Germany and was 
combined with the Euterpe and Hoffmann brands into one company. Although all three firms shared a common factory and a 
common management, they were still considered independent GmbHs (limited liability companies). After gradually 
increasing production in the 1950s and 1960s, the three companies reached their highest production level in 1979, when 276 
employees produced 2,500 upright pianos and 250 grands. 

In April 1991 the youngest Feurich family member, Julius Matthias Feurich (b. 1954), became responsible for the sales 
division of the combined companies. At that time 150 employees produced some 1,400 uprights and 150 grands per year. The 
production of uprights was divided into 70 percent with the W.Hoffmann label and 30 percent with the Feurich name; in the 
production of grands, 30 percent were Feurich and 65 percent were W. Hoffmann, with the remainder made under the Euterpe 
name. The factory building in Langlau covered an area of 11,000 square meters built on an area of 42,000 square meters. 
After the reunification of Germany in 1991, Feurich petitioned to regain the old factory in Leipzig-Leutzsch. 

In July 1991 C.BECHSTEIN Pianofortefabrik of Berlin (by then named Bechstein Gruppe) bought a majority of the shares 
of Euterpe. Production of the Euterpe brand ceased and only the brands Feurich and W.Hoffmann continued to be produced. 
It was planned to enlarge the factory premises and to expand the production of grands, but during the course of 1992 
Bechstein also had financial difficulties which led the partners to announce that at the end of 1992 the Langlau plant would be 
closed. Henceforward, the Feurich instruments would be manufactured in Berlin (by Bechstein) under the leadership of Julius 
Matthias Feurich; thus although Feurich no longer had its own factory it still remained in family hands. Bechstein still 
remained in financial difficulty and bankruptcy was only avoided through the help of the Berlin senate and through the sale of 
its Berlin factory. Only the plant in Seifhennersdorf was saved. 

In the fall of 1993 a new development in Feurich' s history took place: a cooperative venture with the Leipzig Piano 
Company (formerly Ronisch), an old neighbor of Feurich's in Leipzig-Leutzsch. Ronisch took over production of Feurich's 
instruments: first, the two upright models 114 and 116. At the music exhibition in Frankfurt in the spring of 1994, Feurich 
presented his instruments under his own auspices for the first time in several years. Sales from the exhibit were very good and 
plans were made to resume production on Feurich's own premises in Gunzenhausen, Bavaria: a small factory with salesroom 
and space for the completion of instruments. Preliminary construction of the instruments continued to be done in Leipzig, 
with final production in the new small factory. In 2001 the firm celebrated its 150th year of family management under 
director Julius Matthias Feurich. After financial problems in 2001, Feurich sought a partnership with investors. In February 
2002 the company, now called Feurich Klavier-und-Fliigelfabrikation GmbH, was restructured and announced a partnership 
with a firm in Hong Kong which already owns a major share of a piano production company in Shanghai, China. With this 
new capital infusion Feurich will increase produc tion at Gunzenhausen to 500 instruments a year, with new models and a 
larger work space. 



Feurich Pianofabrik ( Internet homepage for Feurich Company. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 3d ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 1994. 

In the early 1700s, keyboard playing made a departure from the archaic reliance on 2-3 and 3^1 pairings and came to 
involve all of the fingers including the thumb. Since then, fingering has been the aspect of pianism most subject to variation. 
Depending on the hand of the individual player, the particular instrument and its ACTION, ACOUSTICS, and — outside of 
solo performance — the ensemble, choices of fingering for a given passage can contrast radically. The musical effect desired 
by the composer also influences the selection of fingering. For instance, at the climax of the last movement sempre piii forte 
passage in BEETHOVEN'S "Waldstein" Sonata, op. 53, pianist Claudio Arrau used the thumb in a bizarre way to make the 
sforzaiuli (see ig. 35). 

Alicia de Larrocha tells of changing a well-mastered fingering on the spur of the moment in concert to project better over 
the orchestra. Famous pedagogues have generally avoided imposing fingerin g exce when a particular problem has remained 


Fig. 35. Beethoven, "Waldstein" Sonata Op. 53. 

unsolved by the student. Notwithstanding this attitude of flexibility, virtually all pianists recognize the virtue of observing 
conventions established in the first half of the nineteenth century by Carl Czerny and others for fingering scales, arpeggios, 
and broken chords, and for connecting double-notes and octaves. Regular ascending scale fingering is 12312341 right hand 
(RH) and 54321321 left hand (LH). Irregular fingering is more complex, but works on a simple principle: as a black KEY 
leads to a white key, the thumb crosses onto the white key (this applies to the RH ascending and LH descending); as a white key 
leads to a black key, the thumb on the white key is crossed by 3 or 4 (as needed) going to the black key (this applies to the RH 
descending and LH ascending). For example, the fingering for E-flat Major is: 21234123 (RH up, LH down); and 32143213 
(RH down, LH up). It is customary to use 2 in the RH when starting a scale with a black key, and to use 2 in the LH when 
arriving on a black note tonic at the scale's peak. As a special exercise, regular fingering is sometimes applied to all scales. 
Chromatic scales in German fingering use 3 on black keys; French fingering allows use of 2 and 4 for increased speed. 
Regular fingering for arpeggios in 1231 (RH up) and 5321 (LH up) or 5421 (LH up) when a minor third occurs between the 
first two notes. Irregular fingering for arpeggios follows the rubric for irregular scale fingering. In four-note chords bounded 
by an octave, the inner fingering varies with inversion from 2-3 to 2-4: if the interval inside the octave is a third or smaller, 
the former is used; if a fourth or greater, the latter. Legato double-notes and octaves are made by connecting the outer notes 
(the inner notes may be detached) and using crossings such as 4 or 3 over 5, or 5 under 4 (see Fig. 36). Shifts also facilitate 
the connection of octaves. 

Sliding from black key to white key, a practice associated with CHOPIN (fig. 37), is another method of connecting 

Of the many issues that concern fingering, some of the more basic are: matching strong fingers with strong notes; changing 
fingers on rapid repeated notes; using as much of the hand as possible to avoid overly frequent crossings; pairing fingers of 
comparable length in double-third successions; (see Fig. 38) reinforcing a heavy accent, such as a bass note, by striking with 
two or three fingers on the same key at once (pianists with tiny hands even use the fist); retaining a consistent fingering 
pattern throughout a passage to aid memory. Comparing fingering in different editions of the same work, such as the Artur 
Schnabel and Heinrich Schenker editions of the Beethoven sonatas, opens a door to understanding the process of finding an 
effective fingering. 



Finish is the term used to describe the exterior layers of coatings that protect the piano wood from climate changes and 
provide an attractive appearance to the piano CASE. 



Flugel is the usual German name for GRAND PIANO. It means "wing," which describes the shape of the CASE and the 

See Hammerfliigel/Hammerklavier 



The forte pedal is another term for the right pedal, which raises all of the DAMPERS from the STRINGS; also called the 
damper pedal. 

See Pedals and Stops 



Fortepiano is as appropriate a name for the piano as pianoforte, and VIENNESE PIANO labels as late as the 1870s 
sometimes use the word "fortepiano." When various types of early piano were revived in this century, the need was felt for a 


f?H- 5-4 5-4 5-4 shifts, and RH- 3 4 5 4 3 5-4 5 3 
longer over a 
shorter 0 

LH- 5 4-5 4-5 

Itf- 5 4 5 4 3-4 5 4-5 4 

Chopin - Prelude Op. 28, No. 

















Fig. 38. Double thirds. 

term to distinguish the early pianos, particularly the Viennese-style instruments of the late eighteenth century, from the standard 
modern piano. The modem term "fortepiano" does not have precise limits; a Viennese GRAND PIANO of 1790 (or a modern 
copy of one) is clearly a fortepiano. An English grand piano of the same date may or may not be called a fortepiano. A 
Viennese grand piano of 1840 will probably be called a fortepiano; an ERARD grand piano of 1850 will probably not. 
See Early Piano: Revival 



Napoleon Fourneaux was born in Paris in 1830. The Fourneaux family was closely involved in the making of musical 
instruments, and his father, Napoleon Four-neaux, Sr. (1808-1846), contributed several inventions to the development of free- 
reed instruments and the harmonium. In 1863 Napoleon Fourneaux devised a mechanical PIANO PLAYER called the 
Pianista. This was the first known pneumatic piano player and it comprised a cabinet somewhat larger in size than that of a normal 
piano. It was placed in front of an ordinary instrument so that a row of wooden fingers at the back of the Pianista aligned with 
the KEYBOARD KEYS. The playing action comprised a pinned barrel turned by a handle. Foot-treadled bellows provided 
wind pressure (as in a harmonium) to operate pressure pneumatics, which in turn depressed the wooden fingers. The 
instrument was demonstrated at the Philadelphia Exhibition of 1876. 

See also Player Piano 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J. G. Pianola — History & Development .... London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 
. Player Piano — History of the Mechanical Piano. London: Allen & Unwin, 1 970. 

Sachs, Curt. Real-Lexicon der Musikinstrumente. Berlin, 1913. Reprint. Hildesheim: G.Olms, 1962; rev. and enl. ed. New York: Dover, 



The component in the internal structure of the piano responsible for sustaining the drawing force of the STRINGS is the 
frame. Until the nineteenth century, the frame was traditionally a wooden structure with timbers running lengthwise through 
the body of the piano. Crossbraces were dovetailed at right angles to these timbers and a wooden wrest plank (PINBLOCK) 
and string-PLATE were then bolted to this internal structure. Iron was eventually added to strengthen the frame as the strain of 
the strings was exacerbated by ever-rising PITCH and the addition of higher octaves. Composite frames utilizing metallic 
BRACES were accepted before the complete cast-iron frame and fell into two main categories: composite iron resistance frame 
(metallic bars) for resisting the strain of the strings, and compensation frames (compensating tubes) for combatting atmospheric 

Composite Iron Resistance Frames 

Iron first entered the piano as a major component around 1800. In 1799 Englishman Joseph Smith patented a metal frame 
(British PATENT no. 2,345) based on the inner frame of the harpsichord while JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS added metal braces 
to his PORTABLE GRAND pianoforte of 1 800. Rosamond Harding concedes that these experiments had no direct bearing on 
the development of the metal frame and that JOHN BROAD WOOD was the first to successfully add metallic bracing bars of 
any significance to the interior of the piano. In 1808 Broadwood's English shop used three tension bars and increased that 
number to five in 1821. SAMUEL HERVE, a Broadwood employee, applied the first metal HITCH PIN plate to a 
SQUARE PIANO in the same year (1821) and Broadwood combined this plate and his tension bars for his patent of 1827 
(British Patent no. 5,485). 

The French were eager to adapt the metallic braces to their own instruments and in 1 825 Pierre ERARD obtained an British 
patent (no. 5,065) for a method of fixing iron bars to the wooden braces of the pianoforte. In the same year, the PLEYEL 
house applied an iron frame and copper string-plate to one of their instruments. 

The Austrians and Germans experimented with metal braces, but were slower to incorporate iron into their instruments. 
MATTHIAS MULLER of Vienna obtained a patent in 1 829 for an iron frame and wrestpin block with a suspension bar of 
iron, and Jacob Becker of Frankenthal obtained a patent in 1839 for square and grand iron frames. Johann Baptist 
STREICHER reputedly used iron bars in his pianos as early as 1835. Acceptance of iron into the piano, however, was delayed 
by the belief that iron was deleterious to the tone of the instrument. Also, the interlocking wooden structure of Viennese 
frames made the need for metal braces less urgent. 

CONRAD GRAF, one of the most esteemed Viennese piano builders of the early nineteenth century, remained faithful to 
wooden framing throughout his career. Deborah Wythe, in her article on the pianos of Graf (Early Music, Nov. 1984, p. 454), 
claims that Grafs durable frame design and construction are unique. Frame components consist of three lengthwise and one 
or two crosswise beams, BELLY RAIL, and casewall beams. The interlocking parts are constructed of five-ply oak and 
spruce and the entire framework is laminated to add to the instrument's durability. 

Compensation Frames 

In 1820 JAMES THOM and WILLIAM ALLEN (both employed by STODART) patented a frame that prevented fluctuations 
in the pitch of the strings due to changes in temperature and humidity. The frame consisted of parallel tubes that were fixed in 
the frame above strings of similar metal beneath (i.e., brass above brass, steel above steel, etc.). The expansion or contraction 
of the strings would then be felt simultaneously by the complementary expansion or contraction of the frame. 

Pierre Erard followed in 1822 with a patent (French Patent no. 2,170) that appeared to be almost an exact copy of the Thom 
and Allen frame. Francis Melville applied two tubular bars to a square piano in his patent of 1825 (British Patent no. 5,085) 
and Thomas LOUD, Jr. of Philadelphia patented his metallic tubes in 1837. Daniel Spillane states that Loud's compensating 
tubes were adopted in New York in 1838. 

The compensation frame was seen as a break-through by nineteenth-century contemporaries, but was short-lived in the 
light of a more pressing problem, that of sustaining heavier strings at a higher tension. Compensation frames became the 
secondary counterpart to composite iron resistance frames, as it was the challenge of builders to invent a frame that could 
withstand the inward pressure of the strings as well as maintain TUNING 

Cast-Iron Frame 

The most significant improvement applied to the piano was that of the cast-iron frame. E.M.Good explains that because of 
cast-iron's high carbon content, it is imbued with high compressive strength (resistance to forces pushing in on the material), 
which allows it to withstand the enormous inward pressure of the strings. 


ALPHEUS BABCOCK of Boston first patented a complete cast-iron ring frame for the square pianoforte on 17 December 
1825. He later obtained a patent in Philadelphia (1830) for an almost identical frame that included three struts (instead of the 
single treble strut of 1825) and a new scheme of CROSS-STRINGING. Although Babcock's 1825 patent describes the frame 
as capable of resistance and compensation, most authorities agree that its main usefulness was that of resistance. 

In 1826 JEAN -HENRI PAPE of Paris patented a frame containing a cast-iron hitch pin block and BRIDGE (French Patent 
no. 4,918). Three years later, Pape's countryman Guillaume Petzold patented a cast-iron frame (French Patent no. 4,089). 
Aside from Wheatley Kirk's British patent (no. 7,094) for the first complete iron frame for an UPRIGHT PIANO, American 
ingenuity dominated further experiments in the perfection of the complete cast-iron frame. 

It was JONAS CHICKERING of Boston who made the most significant improvements in the cast-iron frame following 
Babcock's patent of 1825. His patented frame of 1840 for square pianos (U.S. Patent no. 1,802) cast wrest plank and upper 
bridge, string-plate, and DAMPER socket in one single piece, thereby eliminating any excess noise caused by loosening 
wooden parts. It is interesting to note, however, that most Chickering squares from the early 1 840s contain cast-iron string- 
plates; the complete cast-iron frame was not commonplace until around 1850. In addition to his patent for square pianos, 
Chickering secured a patent fitting the GRAND with a full cast-iron frame in 1843 (U.S. Patent no. 3,238). 

The cast-iron frame was brought to modern standards in the latter half of the nineteenth century by STEINWAY & SONS. 
They dramatically improved the tone of instruments with single-cast frames by successfully cross-stringing their squares as 
early as 1853 and later applying that same principle to grands. The improvements made by Steinway & Sons, and especially 
by Theodore Steinway, attracted much attention in the London Exhibition of 1862 and in the Exposition universelle (1867) in 
Paris. Cynthia Hoover, in her article on Steinway pianos {AMIS, 1981, p. 60), surmised that over two-thirds of the pianos at the 
Vienna Exhibition of 1873 were imitations of the American cast-iron frame and Steinway's OVERSTRUNG system. 

By 1875 Theodore Steinway claimed to have invented a plate that could withstand up to seventy thousand pounds, more 
than twice the maximum weight in 1862. Steinway's Centennial grand, exhibited in the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 
1876, contained a cupola iron frame patented in 1872 and 1875 that further increased the strength of the metal frame. 

The cast-iron frame that was modified and improved by Steinway was the result of experiments and ideas seeded in the 
early nineteenth century. The need for increased resistance to the drawing force of the strings stimulated the first use of metal 
in the framework of the piano. Temperature and humidity fluctuations motivated the use of compensation frames that 
stabilized tuning. In the midst of these innovations, it was not long before the full cast-iron frame was accepted by 
contemporary builders and became an essential element in the framework of the piano. 



Good, Edwin Marshall. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos: A Technological History from Cristofori to the Mod- ern Concert 

Grand. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2nd ed. Old Working, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Haupert, Mary Ellen. "The Square Pianos of Jonas Chickering." Ph.D. diss., Washington University, in Saint Louis, Mo., 1989. 
Hipkins. A.J. A Description and History of the Pianoforte. London: Novello, 1896. 

Hoover, Cynthia Adams. "The Steinways and Their Pianos in the Nineteenth Cenutry." American Musical Insrniinciii Society Journal 1 
(1981): 47-89. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "The Piano-Forte." Washington D.C., 1980. 
Smith, Fanny Morris. A Noble Art: Three Lectures on the Evolution and Construction of the Piano. New York: Devinne Press, 1892. 
Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Piano-forte: Its Technical Development, ana the Truth: New York: D Spillanc, 1890. Reprint. 

New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 
Wicr, Albert E. The Piano: Its History, Makers, Players and Music. New York: Longmans Green, 1940. 
Wythe, Deborah. "The Pianos of Conrad Graf." Early Music 12 (1984): 447-60. 

The important advances made by French piano makers during the first half of the nineteenth century coincided with the 
establishment of Paris as the world's center of pianistic activity. FREDERIC CHOPIN, FRANZ LISZT, Sigismond Thalberg, 
and Frederic Kalkbrenner were the friends of the leading manufacturers, SESBASTIEN ERARD and Camille PLEYEL, and 
the latter founded concert halls that competed with ones owned by the inventor JEAN-HENRI PAPE and the pianist- 
composer-piano maker Henri Herz. This brilliant period of invention and interaction peaked around 1855, when Erard was the 
leading piano maker in the world. Thereafter, piano manufacture in France declined, yielding supremacy to German and 
American competitors by 1900. 

The beginnings of the piano industry in France are obscure. Although projects for clavecins a maillets (harpsichords with 
HAMMERS) were submitted to the Academie Royale des Sciences by an inventor named JEAN MARIUS in 1716, there is 


no evidence that his instruments ever got beyond the planning stage. Most pianos heard in Paris prior to 1770 were English 
imports. The most popular of these were by the London maker JOHANN CHRISTOPH ZUMPE, whose single ACTION 
served as the model for the first French pianos. 

The earliest French pianos include two made in Paris in 1770, one by Johann Mercken, the other by one Virbes (or 
Devirbes). Other early documented instruments are PASCAL (JOSEPH) TASKTN'S first piano (1768) and Sebastien Erard's 
first SQUARE PIANO (1777) and first GRAND(1796). 

The leading firms of the nineteenth century included Erard (founded ca. 1780), Pleyel (1807), Pape (1815), Herz (with 
Klepfer 1825, independently 1851), Roller et Blanchet (1827), Boisselot (1828), Kriegelstein (1831), Bord (1843), and 
GAVEAU (1847). All of the above except Boisselot (of Marseille) were located in Paris, where by 1847 there were 180 
reported piano makers. 

The most important French innovation was Seb-astein Erard's repetition grand action with double ESCAPEMENT, which 
he allowed to be PATENTED in 1821 by his nephew Pierre, who ran the London branch of the business. Other signifcant 
French achievements included the elder Erard's invention of the AGRAFFE (1808), Camille Pleyel's cast-iron frame (1825), 
Pape's patents for FELT-covered hammers (1826) and CROSS-STRINGING (1828), Pierre Erard's invention of the harmonic 
bar (1838), Antoine Bord's invention of the CAPO TASTO (1843) and the spiral hopper-spring (1846), Boisselot's 
incorporation of a SOSTENUTO pedal (1844), Herz's now-universally adopted modification of Erard's double escapement 
grand action (1850), and Napoleon Fourneaux's invention of the pneumatic PLAYER PIANO (1863). Of less importance 
were Erard's TRANSPOSING piano (1812), Pape's eight-octave piano (1844), and such eccentric inventions as Pape's 
circular piano (1834) and the Pfeiffer et Petzoldt triangular piano (1806). 

The early square pianos were soon supplanted in popularity by UPRIGHT PIANOS made in a variety of sizes. The first 
upright in France seems to have been the "Harmomelo" by Pfeiffer (1806), with a Viennese action and PEDALS for harp and 
bassoon effects. Pleyel made inexpensive PIANINOS (1815) based on the COTTAGE PIANOS of the London maker 
ROBERT WORNUM. Other small French uprights included Pape's OVER-STRUNG pianinos (1828), Kriegelstein' s high- 
quality "Mignone Pianino" (1842), and Bord's inexpensive and sturdy "pianettes" (1857). These small instruments took 
second place, however, to high-quality uprights and grands. During the 1840s and 1850s the top five makers of those 
instruments — Erard, Pleyel, Pape, Kriegelstein, and Herz — held their own against growing international competition, and in 
the early 1860s French pianos accounted for about 40 percent of the world's production. 

An exceptional success in the late nineteenth century was the French firm of Herrburger-Sch wander, which became the 
world's leading maker of actions, exporting these in large numbers even to England and Germany. In 1913 this firm made 
approximately 100,000 actions for upright and grand pianos. 

Ehrlich believes that the best period for French manufacturers was between 1848 and 1857, when production increased 
dramatically and exports fluorished, especially to Belgium, the United States, Italy, and Latin America. Subsequently, the 
major French firms rested on their laurels, became insular, and resisted the new technology and business acumen being 
developed in Germany and the United States. 

Criticism and rejection of French pianos by foreign musicians followed. By 1900 French manufacturers withdrew from 
competition in the world's markets and contented themselves with making thin-toned instruments for the home market. By 
1920 exports decreased to only four thousand pianos per year, compared with British exports of nine thousand and German 
exports of eighty thousand. By 1930 France produced fewer than 10 percent of the world's pianos. 

The firms of Erard and Gaveau merged in 1960, and in the following year joined with Pleyel. Finally, in 1971 the 
conglomerate was acquired by SCHIMMEL, the top-selling German company that now produces the three French-named 
pianos in small numbers and according to its own standards. 

The piano industry in France is today reduced to two manufacturers, Klein (1871) and Rameau (1971). In 1980 these firms 
together made only about forty-five hundred pianos. France currently imports some thirty thousand upright and grand pianos, 
mostly from Japan and Germany. 



Barli, Olivier. La Facture franqais e du piano de 1849 a nos jours. Paris: La Flute de Pan, 1983. 

Closson, Ernest. Histoire du piano. Brussels: Editions universitaires, 1944. (New edition translated as History of the Piano by Delano Ames 

and edited and revised by Robin Golding. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1974.) 
Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: J.M.Dent & Sons, 1976. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851 . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Working, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954. 


Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. Long Beach, Calif.: Bob Pierce, 1977. 

Pierre, Constant. Les facteur s d' instruments de musique. Paris: E.Sagot, 1893. Reprint. Geneva: Minkoff, 1971. 
Pistone, Daniele. La Musique en France de la Revolution a 1900. Paris: Honore Champion, 1979. 

, ed. Revue Internationale de Musique Francaise 15 (November 1984). Issue devoted to Le Piano Franqais au XXe Siecle. 

Place, Adelaide de. Le Piano-forte a Paris entre 1760 et 1822. Paris: Aux Amateurs de Livres, 1986. 

Apart from his historical significance as a political and military leader, Frederick II, king of Prussia, exerted considerable 
influence on the arts and music of eighteenth-century Germany. An accomplished performer on the transverse flute, Frederick 
also produced several compositions, especially instrumental works such as concertos that feature the flute. Although his 
particular love of the flute led to a long and close relationship with Johann Joachim Quantz, he was also able to attract a 
number of other leading musicians to Berlin, including CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH as the court's principal 

Probably during the 1740s, Frederick II purchased one of the first pianos made in Germany, which was constructed by a 
noted builder of keyboard instruments from Freiberg (Saxony), GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN. The new invention apparently 
pleased the monarch to such a degree that he ordered several more, as many as fifteen altogether, according to Johann 
Nikolaus Forkel. Forkel also gives the most complete account of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH'S famous visit to the 
Prussian court in 1747 in which, immediately upon his arrival, he was led to each of the new Silbermann pianos to try them 
out. Having heard of the abilities that "the old Bach" possessed regarding counterpoint, Frederick II requested that the 
composer extemporize on a theme that he, the king, had written. Bach later used this theme as the basis for his Musikalisches 
Opfer (BWV 1079). Although there is no evidence as to whether Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach took any particular interest in 
the Silbermann pianos during his tenure in Berlin, his presence there makes him one of the first major composers to have regular 
access to a piano. 



David, Hans T., and Arthur Mendel. T/u b\ich Reader. New York: W.W.Norton and Co., 1966. 
I Im 1 in I I H i n if / Coi 1 G N rman: Unixersih of Oklahoma Press. I960. 

Pollens, Stewart. "Gottfried Silbermann's Pianos." Organ Year-book 17 (1986): 103-21. 

Christian Ernst Friederici was the leading instrument maker of Saxony for several decades after the middle of the 
eighteenth century. He was the first prominent German builder of vertical pianos. He was born at Merane, Saxony, a town his 
parents had moved to from the Tyrol region of Austria. The family name, also spelled "Friderici," is the Italianized form of 
the German "Friederichs." 

After his training in Freiberg as an apprentice to GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN, Europe's leading instrument maker of the 
time, Friederici settled in Gera, Saxony, where he opened his own shop. His business grew well enough for him to have his 
younger brother, Christian Gottfried (1714-1777), join him in 1744. After Silbermann's death in 1753, the Friedericis gained 
a reputation as Saxony's leading instrument makers. Although unsettled conditions during the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) 
caused some Saxony piano makers to migrate to England, the Friedericis remained and prospered in the postwar years. 

The only surviving instrument by Christian Gott-fried Friederici is a five-octave clavichord now housed in the 
Musikinstrumenten-Museum of the University of Leipzig. The Friederici instruments of most interest to many scholars are the 
UPRIGHT PIANOS that Christian Ernst started to build in 1745. These were not the earliest uprights. An Italian upright built 
by DOMENICO DEL MELA is dated 1739. Friederici's uprights were called Pyramidenflugel ("pyramid grand") because of 
their shape. Surviving examples, now in European collections, include two dated 1745 and one dated 1750. The STRINGS 
run diagonally upward, from TUNING PINS just above the KEYBOARD terminating at HITCH PINS along the curved right 
side. The ACTIONS appear to be adaptations of the CRISTOFORI JACK action design simplified by omission of the 
intermediate lever. Tall jacks sup ported on the back ends of the KEY levers lift up against short lever arms or rounded blocks 
with cutouts to allow ESCAPEMENT, attached to the rear of the HAMMER BUTTS, which pivot from a RAIL. DAMPERS 
are actuated through a series of levers and stickers. 

During his time, Friederici's most popular instruments were his clavichords and SQUARE PIANOS, which were exported 
to other countries in Europe. Examples of square pianos by earlier builders that have been discovered more recently indicate 
that he did not invent the square piano, as stated in the past by some historians. Friederici also built pipe organs and 
harpsichords. In 1770 he advertised harpsichords with a type of action he invented that could produce a vibrato tone. 

Among the prominent owners of Friederici instruments: CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH had two Friederici clavichords; 
MOZART'S family owned Friederici instruments (the two-manual harpsichord is mentioned in a letter from Leopold to 


Fig. 39. Pyramidenfliigel [Pyramid grand] 1745 — by Christian Ernst Friederici. Musee instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique, no. 
1631; Bruxelles. (Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's StringOed Keyboard Instruments) 

Wolfgang on 13 November 1777); the family of the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also owned a Friederici 

When Friederici died in 1780, his business was continued by Christian Gottlob Friederici (1750-1805), the son of his 
brother, Christian Gottfried Friederici, who had died in 1777. Christian Gottlob had studied law at Leipzig University From 
1769 to 1774 and then returned to Gera to work at instrument making with his uncle. Contemporary critics rated his 
instruments the equal of those of his uncle. 

The Friederici business in Gera was carried on through two more generations by Christian Gottlob 's son, Christian Ernst 
Wilhelm (1782-1872) and grandson, Ernst Ludwig (1806-1883). 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord, 1440-1840. London: George Ronald, 1956. 


Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851 . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham, 1978. 
Koster, John. Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994. 
Pfeiffer, Walter. The Piano Hammer. Translated from the German by Jim Engelhardt. Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Das Musikinstrument, 



The late twentieth century was an era of paradigm shift — in society, politics, culture, and the arts. This was no less true in 
the musical instruments with which we choose to express outselves. Yet, in the span of cultural time, the history of musical 
instruments has never remained static, nor is there any reason to expect it to remain so now. The dynamic interactions 
between artists, scientists, and engineers have continually expanded the limits of musical possibility through technology. At 
times, change has been driven by composers seeking new expressive horizons; at others the impetus has come from the 
scientist or engineer, who, in opening a new possibility, inspired new modes of composition. Though a large 
oversimplification, there is some truth in the view of the seventeeth century as an era dominated by the virtuoso singer, the 
eighteenth century by the virtuoso violinist, and the nineteenth century by the virtuoso pianist. Will history record the 
twentieth century as the era of the virtuoso conductor? Or the virtuoso electric guitarist? What, if any, instrument will be the 
voice of the twenty-first century? 

This reference work traces the history of keyboard instruments in great detail from the intimate clavichord, through the 
noble harpsichord, to the pianoforte, and beyond. In a sense, this continuum illustrates the fact of change, the fact of 
instrumental evolution over the course of time. An instrument emerges, ascends as artists voice their timely and creative 
energies through it, and ultimately takes its place as an historical entity with a literature, a performance practice, a unique 
expressive modality, and a pedagogy all its own. 

Evidence of many kinds suggests that the piano has now reached a late stage of its evolutionary history and that, while it 
may remain vital, it will never again hold center stage as it did in the nineteenth century. While remarkable and subtle refinements 
in the piano's construction have been made — including the double ESCAPEMENT and the improved metallurgy that permit 
higher STRING tension — the piano has remained essentially unchanged since the mid-nineteenth century. Major works for 
solo piano since the time of Bartok are extraordinarily rare when compared with the output of nineteenth-century composers. 
Once at the center of almost every major composer's output, the piano, if used at all, is now more supportive or peripheral. 
Composers of the mid- and late -twentieth century have written music for piano most typically in combination with other 
instruments for textural and rhythmic emphasis. From John Cage's PREPARED PIANO music onward, many composers 
have explored nontraditional techniques, but it seems as if now even this tonal palette is exhausted. 

Data provided by the American Music Conference and the International Piano Manufacturers' Association indicates that 
conventional piano sales fell by approximately one-third between 1980 and 1989. During this same time, ELECTRONIC 
keyboards proliferated with ever-decreasing costs, and ever-increasing sophistication. In 1985, ten times more electronic 
keyboards were sold than conventional pianos. In 1986 seventeen times more electronic keyboards were sold, and in 1987, 
over thirty times more were sold. It should be noted that these figures compare all electronic keyboards to all pianos. 
Therefore, sales of very low-cost instruments are compared with much more expensive ones. 

What conclusions and inferences may be drawn from these simple observations, particularly with regard to artistic merit, 
are clearly open to serious debate. But, it seems clear that electronic keyboard instruments — digital pianos, SYNTHESIZERS, 
samplers, and their relatives — are going to occupy an ever-increasing market share worldwide. It seems equally clear that they 
are the center-stage instruments of the emerging paradigm. Electronic keyboards are the original instruments of a vibrant 
literature that is being born all around, but not frequently within, the musical establishment. The role of the piano in the final 
years of the twentieth century may very well be compared to that of the harpsichord in the mid-eighteenth century — the elder 
statesman, the voice of a glorious past era. 

These negative points notwithstanding, there is a brighter side for the future of the piano. Demand, though slowly falling, 
does persist. YAMAHA, the world's largest piano manufacturer, and KAWAI (in highly automated, robotic factory) still 
produce large numbers of pianos per year. Relatively small, elite STEINWAY and BOSENDORFER continue to produce 
many handcrafted pianos. 

There are other indicators of a continued life for the piano. While the artist of world-class individuality seems as rare as 
ever, international competitions set ever-higher standards of technical perfection in the reinterpretation of the classics. The 
audience for recorded, and subsequently live, piano music has grown through improved recording technique, marketing, and 
the eclectic idioms of jazz, New Age, and other contemporary styles. The piano occupies a vital and central role in the 
popular music culture — from musical theater to rock. Piano PEDAGOGY has emerged as a legitimate academic discipline, a 
subset within music education with its own unique tradition, research base, and promise for the future. 

In imagining the musical paradigms of the twenty-first century and assessing the role of the piano, a comparison may be 
made to that of the eighteenth century. In that era, the contemporary keyboard player was skilled in several instruments — at 
least clavichord, harpsichord, organ — if not also violin and voice. This musician was involved not only in performance of solo 


and ensemble repetoire, but composition and improvisation in various styles of the time. In the new paradigm, the 
contemporary keyboardist will undoubtedly utilize computer, synthesizer. MIDI, and other emergent technologies, and 
because of its enormous past significance, the piano as well. 

As in the eighteenth century, the musician will compose and improvise in the style of the day as well as participate in the 
continuing recreation of musical heritage. 



GANER, CHRISTOPHER (fl. ca. 1774-1800) 

Christopher Ganer was a London instrument maker, native of Leipzig, naturalized English in 1792, who specialized in 

He was particularly active from the late 1770s until approximately 1800, judging by the large number of squares surviving 
from that period, both under his name and under others (for example, LONGMAN AND BRODERIP, ca. 1780, with ink 
signature "Chri r . Ganer, No 47 Broad S*. Soho, Lond 11 ." behind the NAMEBOARD, and Joseph Dale, c. 1780, with 
"C. GANER LONDON" stamped on the SOUNDBOARD). After about 1784 Ganer ceased to include the year on the 

The squares are of good quality, mostly sixty-one-note, FF-f 3 (some early examples lack FF sharp), single ACTION, 
overdamped, wrest pins (TUNING PINS) to the right, with three (later two) hand-stop levers. Around 1784 an additional model 
approximately six inches shorter than standard appeared. Several later instruments provided pedal-operated lid swell and 
DAMPER lift, and some early ones appear to have had PEDALS added at a later date. One from around 1800 has wrest pins 
at the back and the later "mopstick" over-dampers, though still with sixty-one notes and single action, the whole being 
enclosed in a CASE with unusually bulbous sides. Few sixty-eight-note squares survive, which suggests a falling off of 
activity around 1 800. 

Around 1790 Ganer used an oval enamel plaque, styling himself a "GRAND & SMALL FORTE PIANNO [sic] 
MANUFACTURER," but any surviving GRAND must be very rare, if it exists at all. There is, however, an "organised piano" 
(minus the piano action) in Bristol City Museum, England. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord, 1440-1840. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. 

The New Grove Dkriomny of. Musical Instruments, liditcd by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Ganer." London: Macmillan; Washington D.C.: Grove's 
Dictionaries, 1984. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- versity Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Kibby, Bill. Piano Archives. Lowestoft, U.K. 

Gaveau was a French campany, founded in Paris in 1847 by Joseph Gabriel Gaveau (1824-1903) to produce both pianos 
and harpsichords. Working first at the rue des Vinaigriers and later at the rue Servan, this firm gained an excellent reputation 
in the nineteenth century, especially for its small UPRIGHT PIANOS. Joseph Gaveau worked to improve both the TONE 
projection and ACTION of his company's pianos so that by the last quarter of the century he was successful in producing and 
selling over one thousand upright pianos a year. 

By 1907 the firm had passed to Etienne Gaveau (1872-1943), the founder's son, who expanded the factory at Fontenay- 
sous-Bois and built Salle Gaveau, a concert hall that seats 1,100 people, at 45-47 rue la Boetie in Paris. 

As was the family tradition, the brothers Marcel and Andre Gaveau eventually entered into their father's business; but they 
were soon faced with severe economic problems, especially during the decades of the two world wars. In an effort to compete 
with the rival PLEYEL piano firm (founded 1807), also of Paris, the Gaveau family hired Arnold Dolmetsch to help design 
and produce small unfretted clavichords and spinets. Dolmetsch worked for Gaveau from 1911 to 1914, having previously 
worked for the CHICKERING & Sons piano company of Boston for seven years. When Dolmetsch returned home to England, 
the Gaveau firm soon returned to making only upright pianos. 


In 1960 economics forced Gaveau to join with the ERARD firm (founded ca. 1780) to form a new piano company. 
Financial troubles continued. Finally, in 1971, the SCHIMMEL Company of Germany (founded 1885) took over the French 
piano firms of Gaveau, Erard, and Pleyel, producing pianos under the trademark "Les Grandes Marques Reunies." After 1974 
the Sehimmel Company continued to produce pianos for export to France under the individual marques of "Gaveau," "Erard," 
and "Pleyel." 



Adelmann, Marianne, ed. Musical Europe. New York: Paddington Press, 1974. 
Belt, Philip R., et al. Piano. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1988. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 
The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, lidiied In Slanle\ Sadie. S.v. "Gaveau." London: Macmillan, 1989. 
Sumner, William Leslie. The Pianoforte. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1966. 

John [Johannes] Geib (1744-1818), the founder of a dynasty of piano and organ builders, was originally an organ maker in 
Germany. He emigrated to London, where he worked for the harpsichord workshops of BURKAT SHUDI and 
LONGMAN & BRODERIP. In 1786 Geib invented and PATENTED his English double ACTION; familiarly known as 
"grasshopper" this action was widely used for many years in English and American SQUARE pianos. After opening his own 
shop, Geib worked, according to James, in occasional partnership until 1796 with Ludwig Lenkfeld. 

Geib left London in 1 797 and moved to New York with his family, which included twin sons, John, Jr., ( 1 780-1 82 1 ) and Adam 
(1780-1849), George (1782- 1842), and William (1793-1860). Although his brothers eventually became active as piano 
makers, George seems not to have been involved in the family firm. In 1800 Geib & Company opened as an organ building 
business. With John, Jr., as partner from 1803 to 1814, the company of Geib & Son remained listed only as organ builders. 
However, John, Jr., and Adam began to make and sell pianos under their own names from 1804. After their father retired 
about 1815, the twins concentrated on the piano business, taking William as partner from 1818. After the death of John, Jr., in 
1821, Adam and William ran the business until William's 1827 departure for Philadelphia and a new career in medicine. 

In 1829 Daniel Walker, Adam's son-in-law, became his partner in Geib & Walker, which continued as "piano 
manufacturers, music publishers, and importers" until 1843. Geib & Walker exhibited a piano with Walker's improved wrest 
pin at the New York Mechanics' Institute in 1838. Adam's son William Howe Geib headed the firm from 1845 until the 
1860s. From 1849 until 1858 the firm continued as a dealership under William Howe Geib, with James Jackson, Jr., as 
partner. Before 1870 the firm was purchased from William Howe Geib by Charles Berts. 

No piano by John Geib, Sr., survives; however, many Geib instruments are exhibited in prominent American public 
COLLECTIONS, including the Smith-sonian Institution, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. 

Early Geib pianos show the influence of their English heritage. Typically the instruments have a compass of five-and-one- 
half octaves, ivory naturals, ebony sharps, and one DAMPER PEDAL mechanism. The CASES are usually of mahogany and 
are decorated with inlays of lighter wood. Pianos by W.Geib or Geib & Walker have six-octave compasses. A square piano by 
W.Geib owned by the National Society of Colonial Dames in St. Augustine, Florida, bears the inscription: "W.Geib/cabinet 
grand/and square pianofortes/ church & chamber organs." 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. 3d ed. Edited by Charles Mould. Oxford: Oxford University 
Press, 1995. 

Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 1, 1700- 1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. 

. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Gildersleeve, Alger C. John Geib and His Seven Children. New York: The Author, 1945. 

Groce, Nancy Jane. Musical Instrument Makers of New York: A D Craftsmen. New 

York: Pendragon Press, 1991. 

James, Philip. Early Keyboard Instruments from Their Beginnings to the Year 1820. London: Holland Press, 1930. Reprint. 1960. 


After the early developments of the pianoforte, which occurred in Vienna, England, and France, the last decade of the 
eighteenth century saw Germany entering the field and soon becoming one of the most important developers and producers of 
the piano. 

The Rudolph IBACH Sohn firm, founded in 1794 in Barmen, was the first piano factory in Germany. Other companies 
followed: W.Ritmuller in 1795 at Got-tingen, Ernst Rosenkranz at Dresden, and — one of the most famous — that of Heinrich 
Steinweg, founded in 1835 at Seesen in the Harz Mountains. Most of these factories were family-owned and each had only a 
small staff (as late as 1907, most of them still had under twenty workers). The tradition of family-owned firms with only a few 
workmen continues to this day, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity. In the years between 1810 and 1860 many new 
piano firms were founded; the Napoleonic wars interfered with production, but following the wars a number of firms were 
again established. At first these companies supplied only the local market, but with the beginning of industrialization in 
Germany, transportation and communication were improved and trading centers were developed; the earliest for the piano 
industry were those of Leipzig, Dresden, and Stuttgart; after 1870 these centers were followed by Berlin and Zeitz, where — 
with some exceptions like BECHSTEIN (founded in 1853 in Berlin) — lower quality pianos were produced. 

The industry flourished within Germany but played only a small part in the export trade. However, great changes in piano 
construction were occurring: in 1859, German-born Henry STEINWAY (Heinrich Steinweg), then active in the United States, 
PATENTED the OVER-STRUNG piano with crossed STRINGS and the single-piece iron FRAME. These aspects of 
construction had a worldwide influence; HAMMERS were no longer covered with LEATHER but with FELT, and strings 
were made of steel. No longer was it practical for the small German manufacturers to construct every part of a piano themselves. 
By the end of World War I in 1918, the production of the PLATE, the strings, and the ACTIONS was provided by supply 
industries. In 1924 there were sixteen factories (with a total of 2,300 employees) that built actions, and twenty-nine firms that 
supplied KEYS. The best-known companies (which still exist today) are Louis RENNER in Stuttgart for actions and Hermann 
Kluge of Wuppertal for keys. Only a small number of piano firms held on to the tradition of building all the parts themselves. 
Piano firms would generally buy various parts from supply firms and then construct only the finished product. This resulted in 
the builders being dependent on the suppliers, a relationship that was further aggravated by the formation of associations 
within the supply industry, eventually resulting in a monopoly on the German market. The consequence was that the quality 
of the parts supplied became inferior, yet the piano industry had no influence in the production of these parts. The piano firms 
attempted to form similar associations (the first was the "Freie Vereinigung der Pianofortefabrikanten" in Berlin, followed in 
1893 by the "Verein Deutscher Pianoforte-fabrikanten" in Leipzig, in 1916 by the "Convention der Pianofortefabrikanten," 
and at the end of the war by the "Verband Deutscher Pianofortefabrikanten"); but they were unsuccessful in their efforts 
because not all manufacturers joined the associations. Most companies continued to build their instruments by hand, as in 
former days, though there were a few whose production was combined with machines and who had a large work force, which 
resulted in increased output. The firm of Gebr. Zimmermann A.G. in Leipzig is an example of such collaboration; however, 
this is an exception. 

Demands for war supplies in World War II drastically cut materials available for the piano industry. Most piano firms 
closed down or were converted to the manufacture of war materials. There were postwar problems also. Eminent companies 
like Zimmermann, BLUTHNER, Forster, and Ronisch were located in East Germany. The division of Germany damaged the 
image of eastern Germany's once superior quality of piano construction because the firms there were forced to use inferior 
building materials and had to fill a certain quota of instruments per year. These instruments were sold by Musima, the export 
agent for all types of musical instruments in East Germany. Piano production in West Germany also had its problems: in 1907 
there had been 1,681 piano firms in all of Germany; after World War II, there were only 14 remaining in West Germany. 
Many firms that had been founded in the eastern part of Germany came to postwar West Germany hoping to rebuild there (e.g., 
Thurmer and Feurich). At first there were no funds for machinery, so only a minimum number of instruments were built by a 
small staff; however, this supplied the limited market of the time. In 1954 a new association was formed (Fachverband 
Deutsche Klavierindustrie), which included among its members not only the piano producers but also the supply companies. 
From the 1950s production began to increase and by the early 1970s reached its highest level. 

The importation of Asian pianos into Germany, and their lower selling prices, caused a decrease in the sales of German 
pianos, although many German firms increased their export quotas to counteract this market imbalance. In the 1980s the 
market balance improved, and in 1990 West German piano companies produced 16,492 uprights and 4,064 grands. 

After reunification of Germany in 1990 many piano firms located in East Germany were reprivatized to their original 
family operations. Thus Bliithner and the Leipziger Pianofortefabrik, with "Ronisch" and "Hupfeld" brands, and the 
Eisenberger Pianofortefabrik, with "Eisenberg," "Fuchs & M6hr," "Geyer," and "Klingmann" brands, again became privately 
owned corporations. The quality of their instruments improved since they now could afford building materials similar to those 
of western companies. There were other companies in eastern Germany, however, which had to close after reunification, 
largely because they could not compete with the western-made instruments. 

Because of the great social problems in eastern Germany, changes in the piano industry progressed slowly. Several western 
German investors took over some of the companies that had potential for growth. With the exception of Bliithner and August 


Forster, every other piano manufacturer either moved to other locations or closed. For example, the Pianofortefabrik Lenzen 
was taken over by a Dutch company that then began producing one of the established German brands called Gebr. Perzina. 
Even the largest company, the Leipziger Pianofortefabrik, was taken over by a western investor. For some years it seemed 
that the market in Germany would become stable but with little growth. The number of instruments produced in 1990 (20, 
556) only increased to 24,592 in the following year. Even with stable production numbers, not all the problems were solved. 
With the political changes in eastern European countries there were more and more piano builders who flooded the German 
market with cheaper instruments than those produced in Germany. Production costs in Germany were too high for global 
competition. Instruments from Poland, Russia, and Czechoslovakia, as well as those from China and Taiwan, were flowing 
into the German market. This forced the German piano industry to think about revising its production methods. C.Bechstein 
Pianofortefabrik, which had already expanded by buying the companies of Euterpe, W. Hoffmann, and Julius FEURICH in 
1991, took over the eastern German company of Sachsische Pianofortefabrik, located in Seifhennersdorf, near the Czech 
border. Bechstein invested millions of Deutsche marks into this factory site to form a new and modern production facility. 
The low costs of employment in the eastern sector, which was not accustomed to western levels of income until very recently, 
made these locations desirable for piano manufacturers. However, some of these companies could not sell enough instruments 
and could not reach the high standards of pianos produced by western manufacturers. Many of these companies closed: 
Eisenberger Pianofortefabrik, Pianofortefabrik Lenzen, Markische Pianofortefabrik, Pianofortefabrik Sangerhausen, and the 
Thuringer Klaviaturen und Resonanzboden (which produced piano keys). Even the largest manufacturing company, the 
Leipziger Pianofortefabrik, had difficulties and was taken over by the PFEIFFER Pianofortefabrik, a traditional company located 
in Stuttgart that has continued to build the brands Ronisch and Hupfeld. 

Up until 1993 the influence of the German economic boom that followed reunification, held on. In comparison to the 
economic problems of recession in other countries during those years, German piano manufacturers sustained their output of 

With new market problems arising, innovative ideas of collaboration resulted. A few companies began to collaborate in 
manufacturing. The Leipziger Pianofortefabrik constructed instruments for companies like Ferd. Thiirmer and other brands, 
while trying to maintain the individual quality of the various instruments. Many of the German companies tried to reduce 
costs by buying parts from other countries. Italy, Poland, and Czechoslovakia became involved in building piano cases and at 
times complete instruments, which, when completed, appeared on the market as German brand names. Some German piano 
companies simply assembled and installed delivered parts into their instruments at their factories. These partnerships did not 
last very long, partly because of the poor quality of the instruments and partly because the German piano consumer did not 
want to buy instruments that were not actually made in Germany. A rethinking of the traditional meaning of "Made in 
Germany" returned, and piano companies made new efforts to establish and develop less expensive but good quality brands 
and models. Because of the pressure of the importation of inexpensive instruments from other countries like China and 
Poland, most companies established lowend models like "Europa," made by the C.Bechstein Pianofortefabrik but built in 
Czechoslovakia by Petrof; Bluthner established a brand called "Haessler," built in its Leipzig factory but consisting of 
materials somewhat inferior to the high standards of the "Bluthner" brand. Nevertheless the decline in production statistics in 
Germany continued: in 1994 the Fachverband Deutsche Klavierindustrie (Association of German Piano Manufacturers) listed 
fourteen companies build ing uprights and grands, which together produced 17,316 instruments. One year later the same 
number of manufacturers made only 15,949 instruments, and in 1996 there were only 14,959 instruments produced. The 
reduction of numbers shows the economic difficulties the German piano industry was experiencing. By 1999 the number of 
instruments had decreased to 1 1,410 instruments per year, made by thirteen manufacturers. 

Corresponding to the lower number of instruments, most larger companies like SCHIMMEL, SEILER, or SAUTER 
reduced their factory space, so that they could weather the financial problems the industry was facing. At the same time some 
factories reduced the number of employees and invested in labor-saving machines like CNC-robot machines to reduce costs 
while still maintaining the quality of the instruments. Interest in German instruments increased in the foreign market. The 
United States was especially interested in German-built pianos since the Americans were aware of the long history of the 
piano industry in Germany and cognizant of the high quality of German grand pianos. The number of instruments 
manufactured began to increase somewhat in the year 2000, to 12,064 instruments, as a result of greater efforts at exporting 
instruments on the foreign market. With the reduced level of production most companies began to recover from the financial 
difficulties of the 1990s. The German piano industry today is prestigious not because of the number of instruments 
manufactured, but because of its significant history and the superior quality of its instruments. 



Annual report of the Fachverband Deutsche Klavierindustrie. 


Cicplik, I . '"Die Lntw ieklung dcr Dculschcn Kla\ ierindustrie bis zu ihrcr heutigen Beclouding als k.yportindustrie." Ph.D. diss. L'nivcrsilat 
Giessen, Giessen, 1923. 

Freytag, H. "Die Produktions- und Absatzbedingungen der Deutschen Klavierindustrie." Ph.D. diss. Humboldt Universitat, Berlin, 1949. 
Instrumentenbau-Zeitschrift Jg. 1 990-1 99 1 . 

Roos, Gerhard. "Die Entwicklung der Deutschen Klavierindustrie nach dem Weltkriege bis zur Aufhebung der Aussenhandelskontrolle im 
September 1923." Ph.D. diss. Humboldt Universitat, Berlin, 1924. 

Giraffe or pyramid pianos were UPRIGHT forms of GRAND PIANOS with HAMMER ACTION and vertical STRINGS, 
built between the middle of the eighteenth century and the middle of the nineteenth century. The origins of these instruments 
reach back to the fifteenth-century clavicytherium, which was a vertical or upright harpsichord. One of the earliest 
clavicytheriums was built in 1480. 

In the first half of the nineteenth century it was typical for grand pianos to have a length of nearly 2.5 meters and a width of 
1.25 meters. The large CASE was needed because of the great tension of the strings. But soon efforts were made to produce 
the same full sound with an instrument of smaller dimensions. In 1739 the Italian DOMENICO DEL MELA made his first 
upright hammer-action grand piano. The advantage of this upright version was that the sound was directed toward the 
audience. But with this advantage came a mechanical problem: the hammer action had to be modified because of the ninety- 
degree angle between strings and KEYBOARD. Upright pianos needed less room than conventional grands, an aspect that 
made them very popular as living space became more limited. 

During the decade following Del Mela's upright version, the most important center for building these upright grands was 
Vienna. In 1745 the famous German piano maker CHRISTIAN ERNST FRIEDERICI, who was also known for his well- 
made SQUARE PIANOS, built the first pyramid piano with a symmetrical SOUNDBOARD. 

But development did not stop at this point. First, the pyramid shape was flattened; then in 1795 the Englishman 
WILLIAM STODART built an upright-grand piano in the "form of a bookcase" (so called in the PATENT) with a modified 
mechanism called "ENGLISH ACTION." Stodart placed the action behind the soundboard and thus the strings were struck 
from behind. The last two types to be constructed were the giraffe piano in the shape of a harp (similar to Del Mela's) and the 
lyra-piano (LYRAFLUGEL), so called because the sides were formed like an ancient lyre. 

In 1 804 a renaissance of upright instruments began with the first pyramid pianos by the Austrian makers Joseph Wachtl & 
Bleyer, and Franz Martin Seuffert. The German maker Christoph Ehrlich also became famous for his pyramids. The large 
number of surviving uprights testifies to his great activity. He was the first to build an upright with a rectangular shape. Other 
important makers of upright-grand pianos were Van der Hoef, the Swedish C.J.Nordquist, and the Swiss Andreas Flohr. The 
sound of these instruments could be modified by two to six PEDALS. Besides the piano and sustain-function, the pedals 
controlled effects like the bassoon-register. In the case of the Friederici instruments sound modifications were controlled by 

The lyre piano was the last variation of the upright grands. The builder most closely associated with the lyre piano was 
JOHANN CHRISTIAN SCHLEIP. Many examples of his work from the 1 820s and later are present in museums and private 
collections. All of the upright grand pianos have the PINBLOCK positioned directly above the keyboard, so the instruments 
are quite tall. About 1 800 piano makers began to think of constructing instruments of smaller size. They located the pin-block 
at the top of the FRAME, so that the strings lay in a sloping position. With this innovation came a great increase in production 
of upright pianos, marking the transition to our modern upright pianos. This development put an end to the building of upright 
grand pianos. 

See also Upright Piano 



Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus — Stringed KeyhxirJ Instruments. Diet ikon-Zurich: I rs Graf (distributed in the I .S.A. by 
Da Capo Press), 1981. 

Junghanns, Herbert. Der Piano- und Flugelbau. Frankfurt am Main: Bochinsky/Das Musik Instrument, 1984. 
van dcr Mccr. John Henry. Mitiikinsmunente: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Munchen: Prestel, 1983. 

the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Edited by Stanley Sadie. S.v. "Pianoforte." London: Macmillan Publishers, 1980. 
Wohnhass, Theodor, "Zur Tatigkeit Christoph Ehrlichs als Klavierbauer in Bamberg." Bericht des historischen Vereins. Bamberg. Special 
Issue 104 (1968). 

Lodovico Giustini was born in Pistoia (12 December 1685) and died there on 7 February 1743. He became known mainly 
through the fact that he composed a set of twelve sonatas specifically for the new "cembali con martelli," invented by 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI and built by him or his pupils and former assistants. The sonatas were published in 1732 as 



Fig. 40. A simplified view of the action invented and built by Domenico Del Mela for his Upright Pianoforte (1739). (Drawing by Carsten 

opus 1 in nearby Florence, under the title Sonate da cimbalo di piano e forte detto volgarmente di martelletti. In Giustini's 
sonatas we find not only dynamic markings such as piano and forte but also piu piano and piu forte, not yet usual indications 
for a harpsichordist and playable properly only on a FORTEPIANO (which during the eighteenth century was nearly always 
named "cembalo" or "cimbalo" in Italy) or a clavichord. 

Interesting — and usually not properly noticed — is the fact that Giustini dedicated his sonatas to 
DOMENICO SCARLATTI'S royal pupil Don Antonio Infante di Portogallo, the younger brother of King Joao V. This is one 
more reason to believe that Scarlatti had already introduced the new hammer-harpsichord of Cristofori at the court of Lisbon, 
where an eighteenth-century piano-building tradition can be traced today. The common statement, still to be found in music 
history books, that Giustini composed the very first sonatas for piano and published them as late as 1732, must be revised, 
insofar as it was indeed Giustini who was the first to mention the new hammer-harpsichord in a printed edition; but Domenico 
Scarlatti used Cristofori's cembalo con martelli certainly earlier than Giustini. He was acquainted with them as early as 1703, 
and various Scarlatti sonatas were apparently written for the cembalo che fa il piano e il forte, which seems to have been the 
ideal instrument for some of them, the one he must have had in mind when composing them. 

Badura-Skoda, Eva. "Domenico Scarlatti und das Hammerklavier." Osterreichische Musikzeit-schrift 40 (1985): 505 f. 
Caselli, Ala Botti. "Le 'Sonate da cimbalo di piano, e forte' di Lodovico Giustini." Nuova Rivista Musicale Italiana 12 (March 1978): 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. "The Earliest Piano-forte Music." Music and Letters 13 (1932): 194. 
Pollens, Slew art. The Larlv Pianoforte. Cambridge: Cambridge Unix ersih Press. 1995 
GRAF, CONRAD (1782-1851) 




Conrad Graf was a piano builder in Vienna in the early nineteenth century whose luxury instruments were remarkable for 
their high quality and consistency of design. They were built in the standard Viennese style of the early nineteenth century 
and lack significant experimental features. 

Jakob Schelkle trained Graf in piano making, and Graf eventually married Schelkle's widow. Graf opened his own 
workshop in Vienna in 1804 and by 1809 he had ten workers under him. He was admitted to the professional class of 
KEYBOARD makers in 1822 and was honored in 1824 with a Royal Warrant recognizing his excellent abilities as a piano 
maker. He bought a building called "Mondscheinhaus" (Moonlight House) in 1826, remodeled it, and moved his growing 
factory there. The larger space was essential because he then had forty workers in his employ, and the shop had grown from a 
master-apprentice arrangement to a full-fledged factory where pianos were produced in separate stages. He held salons at his 
new home and factory to advertise his pianos, and in his day he was one of the most prestigious builders in the Austro- 
Hungarian Empire. The high point of Graf s career was the gold medal he won for his instruments at the Austrian Exhibition 
of Industrial Products (Gewerbs-Pi-oJukwii-. iusswlliing) in 1835. In 1842 he sold his factory and retired. 

Graf was active as a builder for over thirty years (1804-1842) and produced approximately three thousand pianos (the 
highest numbered extant piano is no. 2788). Over forty of these pianos survive (see Deborah Wythe for an inventory) and 
because of their sturdy, simple constructions they have warped or cracked less than their contemporaries. Graf used fine 
woods and was particularly careful with matching grains and finishing the surfaces. These instruments were often highly 
ornate, with mother-of-pearl inlay and other elaborate decorative work. His three types of instruments can be distinguished by 
the design of their CASES. The surviving pianos indicate that the earliest group (1812-1824) had a square TAIL and rounded 
corners. This group showed the greatest variety of design features. The second group (1824-1827), with angled tail and rounded 
corners, was of heavier construction and had an expanded range, from CC to g 4 . The thicker STRINGS of these pianos, which 
added increased tension, provided a bigger, more brilliant TONE. The final group (1827-1835) had straight cheeks and an 
angled tail. Robert Winter has pointed out that these later pianos lose some of the earlier variety of tone color found in 
different ranges (pp. 281-2). Graf, in experimenting with a more limited number of STRIKE POINT ratios, sought a bigger, 
more uniform tone throughout the range of the piano. 

The length of Graf s pianos is consistent during his career, and the wooden FRAME design of his own making is largely 
responsible for the durability of his pianos. Six and one-half octaves was his normal range, and although he experimented 
with quadruple stringing, he generally used triple. He used both brass and steel strings and a variety of stringing patterns, 
adjusting the gauge of the string carefully to provide an effortless transition from brass to steel. He introduced English steel 
strings possibly as early as 1 834 and also employed a new type of steel BRIDGE PIN that influenced the tone. An unusual feature 
in his pianos is the extra board above the strings, which muffled the individual sounds and allowed them to blend together 
more completely. 

Graf did not experiment with new designs for the Viennese ACTION, though he did make the parts slightly heavier. Instead 
he concentrated on fine craftsmanship that produced an action with a particularly responsive TOUCH. His DAMPERS are 
particularly known for their lack of extraneous noise and effective damping; LEATHER wedge dampers stop the lower 
strings and wool cloth pads, the upper ones. 

Grafs pianos sometimes had as many as six PEDALS: (1) a shift that moved the action for due corde and UNA CORDA 
effects; (2) a "bassoon," made by parchment that produced a buzzing tone; (3) and (4) a MODERATOR that muffled the tone 
with one layer of cloth to produce piano and two layers for pianissimo; (5) the damper; and (6) a Turkish JANISSARY that 
added bells, jangles, and a drum. Three pedals, however, was his usual number. 

His most famous piano (undated and unnumbered but built after 1825) was owned by LUDWIG VAN BEE-THOVEN and 
is now in the Beethoven House in Bonn. It had quadruple stringing in the treble and triple stringing in the bass, six and one-half 
octaves from CC to f 4 . Another well-known piano was the one built in 1839 and given to Clara Wieck on the occasion of her 
marriage to ROBERT SCHUMANN in 1840. This piano, no. 2616, has the range CC to g 4 and has the covering board over 
the strings. It is mostly triple strung with brass and steel strings and has four pedals. It is now housed at the Kunsthistorisches 
Museum (Vienna), but unfortunately has become unplayable. 

Well-known artists, in addition to Beethoven and the Schumanns, have been associated with Graf s pianos. 
JOHANNES BRAHMS inherited the Schumann Graf; FRANZ LISZT and FREDERIC CHOPIN concertized on Grafs. Today 
both J6rg Demus and Paul Badura-Skoda have made recordings using the Graf pianos (for a list of recordings, see Winter, pp. 

Graf was one of the best and most consistent builders of the VIENNESE PIANO in the first half of the nineteenth century. 
His instruments are known for their sweetness of tone, their singing quality, and their robust bass sound. 




Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Olten: Urs Graf-Verlag, 1955. Also as Stringed Keyboard Instruments: 14411 /cS'.W. 
Translated by M.Boehme-Brown. Boston: Boston Book and Art Shop, 1968. Also, Dietikon-Ziirich: Urs Graf (distributed by Da Capo 
Press), 1981. 

Luithlen, Victor. Kunsthistorisches Museum: Katalog der Sammlung alter Musikinstrumente. Parti, Saitenklaviere. Vienna: 
Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1966. 

Newman, William S. "Bcclhox en's Pianos Versus his Piano Ideals." Journal of the . luieriean Musicalogical Society 23 < 1 970): 484-504. 
Winter, Robert. "Performing Nineteenth-Centuiy Music on Nineteenth-Century Instruments." Early Music 1 (1977- 1978): 163-75. 

."Striking It Rich: The Significance of Striking Points in the Evolution of the Romantic Piano." Journal oj Musical ogy 6 ( I98X): 


Wythe, Deborah. "The Pianos of Conrad Graf." Early Music 12 (1984): 446-60. 

The grand piano is the most impressive looking and largest sounding of all the pianos today. It is distinguished from other 
pianos by its wing-shaped, harpsi chord-like, horizontal CASE. This outer case is finished in a variety of natural wood 
veneers, but the most common FINISH is ebony black. This finish can conceal an inferior wood surface, thus it is less 
expensive to produce than a finish that highlights the grain. By tradition, such ebony black grand pianos are used for 
performances in major concert halls. The styling of the case depends on trends in furniture design and the taste of both the 
maker and consumer; it varies from extreme simplicity to ornately carved period pieces. 

Today's grand piano comes in sizes from about five feet two inches to nine feet ten inches, but has been made both smaller 
(four and one half feet) and larger (up to twelve feet, usually by customer's special order). The different sizes have been given 
their names based on where they are housed: the CONCERT GRAND (nine feet or bigger) is the largest and is usually found 
in large or medium concert halls. The LIVING-ROOM GRAND, also called PARLOR GRAND or BOUDOIR GRAND, can 
be six to seven feet and is found in small concert halls, private salons, or in homes with sufficient living-room space. The 
BABY GRAND (from about five feet to five feet ten inches) is most common in smaller living rooms, conservatory practice 
rooms, and musicians' studios. Makers create additional names for advertising purposes and may have several models (with 
slightly varying sizes) in each category. The normal PITCH range of the modern grand is AAA to c 5 (seven and one-third 
octaves or eighty-eight keys); the largest B6SENDORFER descends to CCC. 

The case consists of five elements: the RIM, bracing, KEYBED, SOUNDBOARD, and auxiliary parts. The rim is an outer 
structural support, and thus somewhat different in function from the protective outer case of the UPRIGHT. The grand 
piano's heavy wooden bracing helps maintain the irregular shape of the rim. The keybed is a flat platform fixed horizontally 
to the bottom of the rim's open front, and the soundboard is a large wooden diaphragm with a slight upward CROWN in the 
center. It is usually made of quarter-sawn spruce averaging three-eighths inch in thickness. Wooden BRACES or RIBS glued 
to the underside of the soundboard strengthen it, and the board is glued around its perimeter to the inside of the case. 

The grand piano is covered by a hinged LID that, if raised at an angle and fastened with a top stick, serves as a reflecting surface 
for the sound. A key cover (FALLBOARD) protects the KEYS and is hinged at each end to wooden blocks (cheek blocks). 
This combined assembly is easily removed so that the entire main ACTION can be taken out for servicing, a design different 
from that of the upright. The KEYBOARD'S natural keys are usually covered with white plastic while the accidentals are 
normally made of black plastic; the IVORY and EBONY surfaces found on older pianos are now rare. 

The case rests on three substantial wooden legs; the two front legs attach to the keybed and the rear leg to a small platform 
under the narrow end (TAIL) of the piano. A LYRE assembly attaches to the bottom side of the keybed and supports two or 
three PEDALS, usually three on American pianos. From right to left, the DAMPER PEDAL (also called the LOUD or sustaining 
pedal) holds up all the dampers at once, and any key that is depressed will continue to sound after the key itself is released. 
All the other STRINGS are also free to vibrate in sympathetic harmonics. The middle or SOSTENUTO PEDAL holds up 
selected dampers — those belonging to keys already down when the pedal is first applied. Those selected strings continue to 
vibrate, independent of subsequent activity. This special-effects pedal is not usually found on European pianos. The soft or 
UNA CORDA pedal moves the keyboard and action to the right so that the HAMMER can contact only two of the three 
strings per note. This makes the sound softer, and because the contact occurs on a part of the hammer where the FELT is less 
compressed, it also changes the timbre. 

The case encloses a single cast-iron or steel FRAME (PLATE) that is shaped like a wing or horizontal harp. This metal 
plate is bolted in position and supports between twenty and thirty tons of tension from the strings. Embedded into the far end 
of the plate are HITCH PINS for the strings. At the keyboard end of the piano, the strings are wound around TUNING PINS 
(wrest pins) that are forced into a PINBLOCK (wrest plank) made of laminated hardwood, usually maple. The string's actual 
sounding length is marked at the tail of the piano by a BRIDGE attached directly to the top side of the soundboard. This 
bridge may be divided into two parts, an S-shaped main bridge and separate bass bridge. At the other end of the piano (the 


keyboard end), the string's sounding length is marked by two different devices. In the treble range, an elevated portion of the 
plate, the CAPO TASTO bar (sometimes called the capo d'astro bar), serves as the marker. For the remaining strings, 
AGRAFFES or screws fastened to the plate delineate the sounding length. (The capo tasto bar and agraffes appear only 
occasionally on upright pianos.) 

Throughout most of the range of the piano (treble, mid- and tenor range) strings are made of plain, drawn, steel music 
WIRE. These strings loop around the hitch pin and then return to the next tuning pin: thus, each single length of wire contains 
two sounding strings. A note on the keyboard is produced by two or three such strings sounding in unison; some large grands 
have four strings in the upper treble. In the bass register steel strings are wound with copper or occasionally iron so that the 
diameter and mass of the string can increase without losing flexibility. Each of these wound strings hooks around its own 
hitch pin. The bass strings cross over the others in a fan-shaped pattern at the tail of the piano. This CROSS-STRINGING (or 
overstringing) allows the strings greater length without increasing the case length and also brings them more nearly over the 
center of the soundboard. Some large grands use three finely wound strings per note at the top of this cross-strung bass; 
smaller grands use only two. On all grands the lowest eight to ten notes use one wound string per note. 

The modern grand piano action (the keyboard and other moving parts that set the hammers in motion) is a modification of 
the action patented by SEBASTIEN ERARD in 1808. The action today uses the double-ESCAPEMENT or repetition 
principle, which allows a note to be replayed before the hammer or key has fully returned to its resting position. This device 
exclusively found on grand pianos, permits particularly quick repetition of the same note. The hammer' s upward striking 
motion further distinguishes a grand piano action from the upright action. This design, which uses gravity to aid the return of 
hammers and dampers to their resting position, makes the grand action simpler and more efficient than the upright action. 
Piano builders use a wide variety of wood types for the moving parts of the action, and some have experimented with plastic 
(teflon) parts. The hammers and dampers are covered with felts designed exclusively for use in pianos. 

There is fairly general agreement that the sound quality of a good grand is preferable to that of a good upright piano. The 
soundboard, being exposed both below and above (if the lid is up), can freely transmit sounds that the upright, with its case- 
constricted soundboard, cannot. In addition, the grand's upward hammer stroke pushes the string up from the bridge, not 
down onto it as in the upright, and this upward motion reduces the percussive effect of the hammer. A difference in sound 
quality is particularly noticeable in the treble register, where the hammer strikes very close to the bridge. Finally, some 
makers believe that the design modification necessary to make small baby grands, those under five feet, compromises the full 
sound of the grand piano. Space considerations, however, often dictate the choice of a small baby grand or an upright piano. 

In Germany the grand piano is generally called the FLUGEL, but HAMMERFLUGEL and HAMMERKLAVIER were also 
used in the early nineteenth century. Hammerklavier signifies a keyboard with hammers, as opposed to the Kielklavier, a 
keyboard with plectra; the term Hammerflugel signifies a wing-shaped instrument with hammers, as opposed to the 
SQUARE PIANO (Tafelklavier) . The three terms have been used interchangeably. BEETHOVEN'S indication fur das 
Ham merklavier on his Opp. 101 (1816) and 106 (1817- 1818) sonatas tells us only that the pieces were to be played on an 
instrument with hammers, not on a plucked instrument. The Italian name for grand piano is piano (forte) a coda, French is 
piano a queue, Spanish is piano de cola, and Portuguese is piano de cauda. The baby grand is Stutzfliigel in German or 
piano a queue mignon in French. 

The grand piano, by definition, includes all wing-shaped pianos beginning with BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI'S first 
pianoforte, about 1700. The term itself, however, was not in use until the late eighteenth century. In 1762 
CHARLES BURNEY still called such wing-shaped instruments "pianofortes of large size" to distinguish them from other 
instruments using the hammer mechanism, according to Sibyl Marcuse (p. 329). The term "grand pianoforte" first appeared in 
a ROBERT STODART PATENT (1777), according to ALFRED DOLGE. An advertisement in the Observer, 4 December 
1791, mentions that the maker John C.Hancock had two types, the "grand and small pianoforte," that is, a grand piano and 
either an upright or square piano, according to C.F.Colt. 

The earliest grand pianos resembled harpsichords, particularly in the shape of the case, the thin legs, and the exterior finish 
with painting, ornamentation, and elaborate carvings. Extras on these early grands included candle holders and fancy music 
racks. Many used black ebony for the natural keys and light bone (or ivory) for the accidentals, but by the end of the 
eighteenth century the colors were reversed to the modern system. Hand stops, knee stops, or knee levers of the early grands 
were gradually replaced with foot pedals. Some grands had as many as six pedals, the most unusual ones operating 
instruments of the Turkish JANISSARY band (triangle, drum, bells, and cymbal). 

Since the grand piano's inception, around 1700, every aspect of its construction has been altered. The earliest grands had 
wooden supporting frames, but as the range, string weight, and strings per note increased, the stress on these wooden frames 
grew dramatically. Struts, braces, hollow tubes, and string plates made of iron were added in the nineteenth century in order to 
compensate for the heightened pressure. Various designs of such partial or pieced-together metal frames were used 
throughout the nineteenth century, although JONAS CHICKERING patented a single cast-iron frame for the grand piano in 
1843. A one-piece iron or steel frame became the norm for twentieth-century grand pianos. This design has been particularly 


effective in preventing the warping of wooden parts that are under extreme stress — a consideration especially important in the 
humid American climate. 

The earliest grand pianos had ranges between four and five and one-half octaves, but today seven and one-third octaves is 
the usual size. The largest Bosendorfer grand, however, has eight octaves. As the range increased, the straight stringing of 
earlier pianos was replaced by the fanning out of the bass strings over the remaining strings. This allowed for longer bass 
strings but changed the resonance patterns of some overtones. The continuous bridge — used in early pianos in emulation of 
the harpsichord bridge — was replaced by a double bridge system with a separate bridge for the bass strings. 

Strings had to be made thicker to withstand the increasing tension and added range. In the nineteenth century they were 
changed from iron to the stronger, stiffer cast or pulled steel, while the lower strings were changed from brass to a stronger 
type with copper wound over steel. Some of the earliest pianos had only two strings per pitch, each fastened to its own hitch pin, 
but this number was soon increased to three strings per pitch with a single WIRE looped around one hitch pin to divide into 
two separate strings. 

Makers used many different designs for the grand-piano action: PRELLMECHANIK, sometimes called German action 
(which evolved into the Viennese action in the nineteenth century), downstriking action, the ENGLISH ACTION, the Anglo- 
German action, the double-escapement action, and others. Numerous patents attest to the many experiments that purported to 
improve the action designs. Different STRIKE POINTS (where the hammer strikes the string) were also a constant source of 
experimentation, and important additions were brass agraffes and the capo tasto bar, both of which helped to hold the strings 
firmly in position as they were struck by the hammers. In general, heavier hammers became necessary to compensate for the 
stiffer strings. The early soft buff-LEATHER, wool, or cloth coverings were replaced with harder FELT ones. The damper 
material also changed from soft leather to felt. Not until the twentieth century did the double escapement action or repetition 
action finally become the norm for all grand pianos. 

The grand piano has been the subject of continuous experimentation. Even today makers experiment with many elements: 
new designs and materials for action parts, new SCALE DESIGNS and different striking ratios, and new techniques for 
seasoning wood and pulling steel strings. Though these changes today are not nearly as radical as earlier ones, the grand piano 
has never been fixed in time as a "perfect" or "completely developed" instrument. 



Blackham, E.Donnell. "The Physics of the Piano." Scientific American 213 (December 1965): 88-99. 
Colt, C.F., and Antony Miall. The Early Piano. London: Stainer & Bell, 1981 . 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1972. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Boston: Brookside Press, 1987. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Hipkins, Alfred J. A Description and History of the Pianoforte. 3d ed. London: Novello, 1929. Reprint. Detroit: Information Coordinators, 

Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Olten: Urs Graf-Verlag, 1955. Also as Stringed Keyboard Instruments: 1140 WHO. 
Translated by M.Bochmc -Brown. Boston: Boston Book and Art Shop, 1968. Also, Dietikon-Zurich: Urs Graf (distributed by Da Capo 
Press), 1981. 

Marcuse, Sibyl. A Survey of Musical Instruments. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. 

White, William. Theory and Practice of Piano Construction. New York: Edward Lyman Bill, 1906. Reprint. New York: Dover 
Publications, 1975. 

Winter, Robert, "Striking It Rich: The Significance of Striking Points in the Evolution of the Romantic Piano." Journal of Musicology 6 
(1988): 267-92. 

Grotrian-Steinweg Pianofortefabrikanten is one of Germany's most distinguished piano manufacturing companies. In 1830 
German-born Georg Friedrich Karl Grotrian (1803-1860) moved to Moscow, where he began a successful career as a music 
dealer. In 1850 he returned to Wolfenbuttel, where he met Carl Friedrich Theodor Steinweg (1825-1889), who was later 
known in the United States as Theodore Steinway. Steinweg's father, Heinrich Engelhart Steinweg (1797-1871), had moved 
to America and had left his Wolfenbuttel-based piano company to Theodor. On Friedrich Grotrian' s return to Wolfenbuttel in 
1850 he became a partner in Steinweg's company. The new partners purchased a building in Braunschweig and forged a 
successful piano company. In 1865 Theodor Steinweg sold his shares and moved — like his father — to New York to take over 
the paternal company, STEINWAY & SONS. Grotrian's son Wilhelm (1843- 1917) continued the tradition of fine 
craftsmanship; in turn, Wilhelm's sons Willi (1868-1931) and Kurt (1870-1929) joined the firm in 1895. 


The company grew steadily and in 1913 it had 550 employees; by 1920 this number had increased to 1,000. At that time the 
production was sixteen hundred instruments a year. After some legal actions with the American Steinway, the family was 
allowed to use the hyphenated Grotrian-Steinweg name, a name that was already well established in the piano industry. 
Following the deaths of Willi and Kurt, Kurt's sons, Erwin (b. 1899) and Helmut (b. 1900) Grotrian-Steinweg, became 
partners in 1928 and were able to steer the firm through the difficult years of the depression and wartime destruction to 
resume piano production again in 1948. Since 1956 the firm has sponsored the Grotrian-Steinweg Klavierspielwettbewerbe 
[Grotrian-Steinweg Piano Competition] to support youthful pianists. 

The fifth generation of the family, Knut Grotrian-Steinweg (b. 1935), the son of Helmut, entered the firm in 1961. His 
father and uncle saw to the building of an entirely new production facility in Braunschweig- Veltendorf and retired shortly 
after its dedication in 1974, leaving the firm in Knut's hands. Knut remained responsible for the company until the end of 
1999, when Burkhard Stein, a piano maker and industrial manager, was named as managing director. The end of the family 
association in the company is not yet in sight, since the son of Knut Grotrian-Steinweg, Jobst (b. 1969), is a sixth-generation 
sharing partner in the company. 

Today the Grotrian-Steinweg Pianofortefabrikanten employs eighty people. In 2000/2001 production reached a total of nine 
hundred pianos a year. The production includes seven different types of uprights, ranging from 108 cm (42 inches) to 132 cm 
(52 inches), and four grands, from 165 cm (5 feet 4 inches) to 277 cm (9 feet 1 inch). All are available in various styles and 
most of the construction is done by hand. Nearly half of the firm's employees are piano builders; a special apprentice program 
sees to it that qualified successors will maintain the firm's high standards. 



Rolle, Giinter. "150 Jahre Grotrian-Steinweg." Keyboards (November 1985): 24-7. 
Palmieri, Robert. Letter from Andrea Peia, agent of Grotrian-Steinweg, 20 November 200 1 . 

According to ALFRED DOLGE, the Gulbransen-Dickinson Company was established in 1904 as part of Chicago's piano 
supply industry. The company specialized in player actions. Under the direction of Axel GGulbransen, a Swedish immigrant, 
the firm became a prominent manufacturer and aggressive advertiser of PLAYER PIANOS. 

Pierce Piano Atlas indicates that the first instruments were produced in 1915 under two brand names: Gulbransen and 
Dickinson. Annual production exceeded 22,000 pianos by the mid- 1920s. Unlike many players of lesser quality, the 
Gulbransen was capable of producing an expressive performance. Gulbransen-Dickinson 's national advertising campaigns were 
among the most extensive and progressive in the industry. Full-page ads in such national magazines as the Literary Digest and 
the Saturday Evening Post stressed family values and invited consumers to "Try the Gulbransen Only Ten Minutes" and 
prove to themselves that the piano was "Easy to Play." Indeed, the firm's ambitious merchandising provided America with the 
Gulbransen-Baby trademark, symbol of "easy-to-play" technology: a happy toddler easily pushing the piano's bellows pedals 
(illustrated in Roell, The Piano in America). Axel GGulbransen developed the famous trademark (as esteemed in its day as 
RCA's famous dog, "Nipper") from an actual incident. The company even supplied its dealers with a papier-mache baby to 
use as a window display. The slogan "All the fun without long practice" exemplified Gulbransen philosophy. 

The company survived the collapse of the player-piano market in the 1920s and the Great Depression in the 1930s in part 
because of the marketing initiative of Axel GGulbransen. In the Music Trades he admonished unprogressive dealers who still 
were not "selling the things a piano will do for the home [but were] merely selling so much wood, felt, strings, duco, and 
metal at a price." Apparently, however, Gulbransen ceased to be a family-run business and was on the edge of insolvency 
until bank-appointed S.E.Zack was made president in 1930. Under Zack, the company survived by making contract cabinets, 
clocks, and shipping crates until prosperity returned after World War II. In the 1930s the company also used the brand name 
Edward B.Healy Pianos; in the 1950s the firm owned the Bremen Piano Company in Franklin Park, Illinois. Zack took the 
company into electronic-organ manufacture, and he sold Gulbransen to the J.P.Seeburg Company (the venerable coin-piano 
and jukebox manufacturer) in 1963. The company discontinued piano manufacture in 1969. 

By 1976 CBS Musical Instruments Division (which also had acquired STEINWAY & SONS) owned Gulbransen, 
concentrating on home-organ production from a factory in Hoopeston, Illinois. According to the Purchaser 's Guide to the Music 
Industries, Gulbransen built the first transistor organ, the first builtin Leslie speaker, the first automatic rhythm and authentic 
piano voice, the first automatic walking bass, the first electronic theater organ, and the first Musi-computer. Mission Bay 
Investments of San Diego, California, owned Gulbransen Incorporated after 1985. Mission Bay Investments had pianos 
manufactured in Mexico and distributed them worldwide under the Gul bransen trade name. The firm, supporting an 
international network of dealers, manufactured ELECTRONIC-keyboard products that utilized software-based digital tone 
generation technology. 


By the late 1980s the San Diego-based company was selling complete designs of digital pianos to Asian manufacturers, 
including over 50 percent of the market in South Korea. In 1996 Gulbransen introduced the G392, the first PC sound chip 
able to play sixty-four simultaneous voices through a hardware -based SYNTHESIZER engine. Today (2002) Gulbransen 
Incorporated remains a digital musical instrument company specializing in the design and manufacturing of MIDI- Systems, 
which allow control of an entire MIDI studio or stage rig from a non-MIDI KEYBOARD, like an acoustic piano. BALDWIN 
selected Gulbransen technology for its ConcertMaster computerized player-piano line, and Elton John, Chick Corea, and Billy 
Joel are among artists choosing the Gulbransen system for use in their acoustic pianos. The company also produces the 
Digital Hymnal, a high-quality portable digital hymn player containing over 5,900 hymns, choruses, and praise music on 1 17 
instruments, for the church market. Gulbransen — once the celebrated master at marketing "Easy-to-Play" player-piano 
technology — now promotes its Digital Hymnal as "Instant music at the touch of a button.... There is no faster, easier way to 
experience glorious music than with the Digital Hymnal." Axel Gulbransen would most likely approve. 



"Chicago's Music Industry Is Huge." Chicago Commerce 24 (21 July 1928): 7-9, 29-30. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers: A Comprehensive History oj the Development oj tin- Piano from the Monochord to the Concert 

Grand Player Piano. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Gulbransen, Axel G. "A.G. Gulbransen Issues Call to Arms." The Music Trades 78 (April 1930): 3. 

Gulbransen. Inc. (' Gulbransen"s uebpage oilers an outline history of the company, an index of piano serial numbers, 

details about Gulbransen digital products and services, and links to sources about Gulbransen acoustic pianos. 
The Music Trades Corp. Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. Englewood, N.J.: Music Trades Corp., annually. 
Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 9th ed. Long Beach, Calif.: Bob Pierce, 1990. 

Roehl, Harvey N. Player Piano Treasury: The Scraphook History of tin Mechanical Piano in America as Told in Story, Pictures, Trade 

Journal Articles and Advertising. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1961; 2d ed., 1973. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America , 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989; 1991 . 



The hammer is the primary part that distinguishes the piano from all other stringed keyboard instruments. Its introduction 
(ca. 1698-1700) by BARTOLOMEO CRISTO FORI into what was essentially a harpsichord created a new instrument, 
percussive in nature, with a wider range of expression than was possible with any of the keyboard instruments of the day. This 
opened the door to subsequent experimentation and advancement in design and construction in order to take advantage of the 
tonal production possibilities of the hammer, which in turn contributed to the development of new, more emotionally 
expressive forms of music. 

The earliest piano hammer as used by Cristofori was a wooden block with a rectangular striking surface covered with soft 
LEATHER. Since this type of hammer would tend to make contact with a large area of the STRING and mute out desirable 
harmonics, the next development was a round hammer, made of laminated strips of parchment in the shape of a circle, again 
covered with leather. The round striking surface of the new design possibly sounded better, but a new problem soon arose. 

In order to take advantage of the wider range of expression made possible by the hammer action, piano designers kept 
increasing the overall size and string tension in their instruments to obtain more volume; the heavier instruments in turn 
required heavier hammers. In London, in about 1775, JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN developed a hammer made of several layers 
of leather covered with an outer layer of cloth. Other manufacturers soon adopted and modified this design, layering different 
types of leather and skin over a wooden core, frequently with the hardest leather at the center and the softest, buckskin or 
deerskin, on the striking surface. Although leather had its drawbacks, in particular a tendency to become very hard and lose 
resiliency under regular use, this was the beginning of the design of our modern hammer. In Pianos and Their Makers, 
ALFRED DOLGE states: "The art in hammer making has ever been to obtain a solid, firm foundation, graduating in softness 
and elasticity toward the top surface, which latter has to be silky and elastic in order to produce a mild, soft tone for 
pianissimo playing, but with sufficient resistance back of it to permit the hard blow of fortissimo playing." 

With the trend toward ever-heavier pianos in general, and the advent of the iron FRAME in particular, it became evident 
that leather was an inadequate material for hammer covering. Although several people were experimenting with different 
materials during the early nineteenth century, JEAN-HENRI PAPE, a Parisian inventor and piano maker, is generally credited 
with producing the first felt-covered hammers (French PATENT, 1826). Used at first as the outer layer, felt soon took the 
place of leather for the underlayer as well, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, felt hammers were accepted as the 
industry standard. 

Up to this point, hammers were made by hand, but again the ever-increasing string tension and the quest for more volume 
dictated development of a heavier hammer than could be made by manual methods. According to Dolge, a piano maker in 
Breslau named Wilke invented a hammer-covering machine as early as 1835. This development apparently made little or no 
impression on the European piano builders, since they continued to hand-make their hammers into the 1860s. In America, two 
hammer-making presses were patented in 1850, one by FREDERICK MATHUSHEK and one by Rudolf Kreter. Each 
represented an advancement in design but both had the same drawback: the hammers could not be removed from the press 
until the glue had hardened, thus limiting the manufacturing potential. This problem was solved in 1863 by Benjamin Collins, 
who perfected a hammer press with a removable caul, a metal form used to force the hammer into its final shape; this allowed 
the machine to be used repeatedly. Although subsequent development has refined the machinery, methods, and materials 
somewhat, the same type of hammer press is still being used today. 

The modern piano hammer is essentially a wooden form, to which is glued, under pressure, a tapered strip of felt. The 
wood, or molding, is cut from hardwood, glued together to form a long strip and then machined into the desired shape. The 
felt, made from a special blend of different types of wool fibers, is formed into large sheets, graduated in thickness from end 
to end. These sheets are sliced into individual strips, each of which will make an entire set of hammers. Sheets of hammer felt 
are graded according to density, expressed in pounds, with the heavier felt usually being used on the larger pianos. Therefore, 
a set of "16-pound hammers" are made of a strip from a sheet of felt that originally weighed sixteen pounds. 


The strip of felt, which in cross section resembles a triangle with a flattened apex, is coated with glue and placed into the 
caul. The hardwood molding, held in place from above with its point down, is lowered to meet the apex of the felt, which is 
then forced up and around the wood. After the ends of the felt have reached the sides of the molding, the press is tightened 
further in order to compress and densify the hammers. This extra pressure is usually graduated, with the treble hammers 
hardened more than the bass. 

After remaining under pressure for a specified period of time, the set is removed from the caul, sanded to the desired final 
shape and cut into individual hammers. The finishing process also involves shaping the tail end of grand hammers to match 
BACK CHECKS, and drilling a hole for the hammershank, the wooden dowel on which the hammer will be mounted. 

The quality of TONE in a piano is determined primarily by the inherent characteristics of the strings and the hammers, and 
by the interaction between the two. The tonal nature of piano strings is determined by the scale of the instrument — the 
balancing of length, thickness, and tension among all the WIRES in order to achieve a uniform timbre and volume across all 
eighty-eight notes. This scale is part of the original design and is rarely changed throughout the life of the instrument. The 
hammer, on the other hand, is a constantly changing factor in tone quality, variable not only by the factory and technician, but 
also by the pianist in the course of playing, by wear and tear, weather conditions, and by the simple passage of time. 

When a string is set in motion, it not only vibrates as a whole, but also divides into smaller vibrating segments that produce 
higher tones called harmonics or overtones. The timbre of any musical instrument is determined by the proportions of the 
fundamental tone and its harmonics. The generally accepted ideal in piano tone is approximately 50 percent fundamental, with 
diminishing amounts of higher overtones, up through the seventh PARTIAL; above the seventh, the overtones become 
increasingly dissonent and harsh. The hammer is positioned to strike the string at about one-eighth of its overall length 
because this largely eliminates these higher harmonics. 

When the hammer strikes the string, two important things occur: the hammer compresses and the string deflects upward. When 
the hammer reaches its maximum compression, it pushes itself back away from the string. If the hammer is too soft, with not 
enough resilience, it flattens out and remains on the string too long, robbing the string of energy and muting too many of the higher 
harmonics, resulting in a dull, soft tone. If the hammer is too hard, the string breaks up into smaller vibrating sections, 
emphasizing the dissonant higher harmonics. The effect is like a wooden ball bouncing on concrete, with a resulting harsh 
sound. The desirable consistency for a piano hammer is more like that of a tennis ball, in which the core is compressed and 
the outer covering is stretched. This combination results in a resilient hammer, which impart the correct deflection to the 
string and pushes itself away quickly, leaving more of the energy of the blow in the string. 

Other factors besides density can affect the sound a hammer produces. The shape of the end that strikes the string has a 
direct effect on the form of deflection in the string. Some piano makers, for example, insist that their hammers should be egg- 
shaped for optimum tone, while some other makers prefer a rounded form. The condition of the striking surface, or crown, is 
also extremely critical. As hammers are played they flatten out and eventually develop grooves where they strike the strings. 
The ideal striking surface is smooth and level, so that the hammer strikes all strings of a unison simultaneously. The deeper 
the grooves are worn, the longer the hammer is in contact with the string, with a resultant loss of energy and tone quality. 
Also, as the crown becomes packed it gets harder, which results in a harsh, uneven tone. Humidity also plays a role in tone 
quality; aside from its effects on the body of the piano, excess humidity can cause the hammer felt to swell, resulting in a 
softer sound, whereas the effect is reversed under dry conditions, where the hammer becomes tightly packed, producing a 
sound often described as brittle and dry. 

The tone quality of a piano can also be altered by the way it is played; as the force with which the hammer strikes the 
strings is varied by the pianist, so the harmonic response of the strings is altered. When the ACTION of a GRAND PIANO is 
shifted sideways by the use of the UNA CORDA PEDAL, the string is struck by a different part of the hammer crown, and 
again a very different sound is achieved. 

A further effect on tone quality emerges over time as the hammer wears. The grooves caused by the strings can be removed 
by reshaping the hammer with a sandpaper file, restoring shape and removing dead felt. As the striking surface approaches the 
core of the hammer, however, the felt gets harder and harder because of compression and because of the glue that fastens it to 
the molding. The resulting harsh tone necessitates replacing the hammers long before they have worn through. 

The modern piano hammer, like the piano itself, is a nineteenth-century invention. Although both have benefited somewhat 
from the advent of twentieth-century materials and manufacturing techniques, the design is essentially still the same as it was 
one hundred years ago. Whether this means that the hammer has reached the apex of its evolution or not remains to be seen 
(some might say that hammers are not as good today as they were at certain times in the past); the hammer is, however, the 
primary reason a piano is able to sound a whisper or a roar at the whim of the pianist's TOUCH, and as such, plays an 
important role in influencing the development of music for the piano. 

See also Tone 




Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book: A Guide to Buying a New or Used Piano. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 1987. 
Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
McFerrin, W.V. The Piano — Its Acoustics. Boston: Tuners Sup- ply Co., 1972. 

Pfeiffer, Walter. The Piano Hammer. Translated by Jakob Engclhardt. Frankfurt: Das Musikinstrument, 1978. 

Piano Technicians' Conference. Secrets of Piano Construction: Proceedings of the Piano Technicians' Conference Chicago, 1916, 1917, 
1918; New York, 1919. (Previously published as Piano Tone Building. American Steel and Wire Co.) Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1985. 

White, William Braid. Theory and Practice of Pianoforte Building. New York: E.L.Bill Publisher, 1906. Reprinted as Theory and Practice 
of Piano Construction: With a Detailed Practical Method for Tuning. New York: Dover, 1975. 

Wier, Albert Ernest. The Piano: Its History, Makers, Players and Music. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1940. 

These German names for the GRAND PIANO were used in the early nineteenth century. Hammerftiigel means a wing- 
shaped instrument with HAMMERS, while Hammerklavier means a KEYBOARD with hammers and therefore includes both 
the SQUARE and the grand piano. LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN'S use of the expression fur das Hammerklavier to describe 
opp. 101 (1816) and 106 (1817-1818) would inform the performer that these pieces should not be played on the harpsichord. 

See also Grand Piano; Fliigel 


HANCOCK, JOHN CRANG (fl. ca. 1777-1794) 

John Crang Hancock was a London builder of organs and pianos who took out a PATENT in 1790 (British Patent no. 
1743) for "a new grand piano forte, with a spring key touch, German flute, and harp." The instrument described and depicted 
is a grand-shaped piano with a combined organ, although no examples of such instruments by Hancock are known to survive. 
The patent also illustrates Hancock's unusual piano ACTION, the most important element of which is a wire spring pressing 
against the top of each KEY lever just behind the balance RAIL. The spring's tension can be adjusted to alter the TOUCH, 
that is, the finger weight needed to sound a note. Unlike the normal English grand action, the HAMMERS in Hancock's 
action face toward the player and each JACK escapes through a hole in the hammershank. On the basis of the reversed 
direction of the hammers, Harding has classified this arrangement as an Anglo-German action. The principles involved, 
however, are the same as those in other ENGLISH ACTIONS, that is, those of a Stossmechanik. 

There are three surviving pianos that contain Hancock's action, each, with some variation, built in the shape of a bent-side 
spinet. All bear the name "Crang Hancock" and the address "Tavistock Street" on their NAMEBOARDS. The instruments are 
dated 1777 (sold at auction at Sotheby's on 23 November 1988); 1779 (at the Finchcocks Collection in Goudhurst, Kent); and 
1782 (at the Colt Collection in Bethersden, Kent). It is not clear whether these pianos were actually made by John Crang 
Hancock (with his first name omitted from the nameboard) or, perhaps, by the firm known as Crang and Hancock. This latter 
company was the result of a partnership formed in 1771 between John Crang (active ca. 1745-1792), an organ and 
harpsichord builder based in Wych Street, and one (or perhaps both) of two other instrument builders, John Hancock (active 
ca. 1770-1792) and James Hancock (active ca. 1770-ca. 1820). It has been suggested that John and James Hancock were 
brothers, and James was apparently either a brother-in-law or, according to the label on an extant organ, a nephew to John 
Crang. According to Boeringer, John Crang Hancock took over the "Crang and Hancock" business in 1792 when the two 
older partners died. His family relationship to John and James is not known and the occurrence of similar names and working 
addresses has created substantial confusion in standard reference works. In his 1791 patent John Crang Hancock's address is 
given as Wych Street, but an advertisement from 1791 shows him at Parliament Street. 

At least two additional pianos survive that employ actions similar to Hancock's patent. One is a short grand piano from 
1789 by Davison and Redpath of London (at the Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota). The other is an 
English grand piano or converted harpsichord, without its original nameboard (at the Colt Collection). 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichrod, 1440 to 1840. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1974. 
Boeringer, James. Organa Britannica: Organs in Great Britain 1660-1860. Vol. 1. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 

. Organa Britannica: Organs in Great Britain 1660- 1860. Vol. 2. London and Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1986. 

Colt, C.F. (with Antony Miall). The Early Piano. London: Stainer and Bell, 1981. 

."An Interesting Early Forte-piano." English Harpsichord Magazine 1, no. 7 (October 1976): 198-201. 


Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Hirt, Franz Josef. Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Olten: Urs Graf-Verlag, 1955. 
James, Philip. Early Keyboard Instruments. London: Holland Press, 1930. 

Kuronen, Darcy. "An Unusual English Piano." Early Keyboard Studies Newsletter 3, no. 3 (June 1987): 1-3. 
The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1984. 

Patents for Imtini m\ Ihriilpn lions Relating to A Musical I ' nments. A.D. 1694-1866. 2d ed. London, 1871 

(facs., London: Tony Bingham, 1984). 

In 1805 the enterprising German, Johann-Christian Dietz (1773-1849), introduced to Paris what would prove the most 
successful of his many pianistic inventions. Called a claviharpe (harp-piano, or piano-harp), this curious but graceful 
instrument displays its STRINGS in the form of a gilded harp resting just above the KEYBOARD console. The KEYS when 
played cause small LEATHER-covered hooks to pluck the strings; the resultant sound strongly resembles that of a harp. The 
manufacture of the claviharpe was continued in Paris by Dietz himself and his son, Jean-Chretien (Johann-Christian the 
Younger) (1804-1888), and in Brussels by his grandson, Christian (Johann Christian III) (b.1851; fl. 1880-1897), until nearly 
the end of the nineteenth century. Among the extant examples of the Dietz claviharpe are those at the 
MusikinstrumentenMuseum in Leipzig, the Deutsches Museum in Munich, and in the Musee des Instruments de Musique in 

In an obvious attempt both to capitalize on the Dietz family's success and to improve the resonance of the claviharpe, Dr. 
John Steward PATENTED his EUPHON-ICON in 1841. Steward was an enigmatic figure, active in Wolferhampton, 
Staffordshire, about the middle of the nineteenth century. His Euphonicon displays three sound boxes on the console top and 
just behind the strings. The "harp" itself has been narrowed but retains most of its height. F.Beale & Company manufactured 
Steward's Euphonicon in London from about 1842. Extant examples are owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 
London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Curious and extremely ornate American examples of the harp- 
piano were made about 1860 by Henry Kroeger in New York and Anthony Kuhn and Samuel Ridgeway in Baltimore. 

See also Upright Piano 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 1, 1700— 1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. 
. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Haine, Malou. "Dietz." Dietionnaire ties faetenrs tl Instruments tie musique en ll 'tillonic el a Bi uxcllcs tin 9c siecle a nos jours, edited by 

Malou Haine and Nicolas Meeus. Liege and Brussels: Pierre Mardaga, 1986. 
Libin, Laurence. American Musical Instruments in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and 

W.W.Norton & Co, 1985. 

."Keyboard Instruments." Reprinted from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (Summer, 1989). New York: The Metropolitan 

Museum of Art, 1989. 

The harp-shaped piano was a late eighteenth-century piano made and popularized in southwestern Germany. This single- 
strung instrument, as its name (in German, liegende Harfe) implies, looks like a harp placed on its side; even its CASE is 
usually harp-shaped, but a few examples exist in rectangular, or square, cases. The compass typically has four-and-one-half 
octaves (C- f 3 ), and the ACTION is single (in German, STOSSMECHA NIK) without ESCAPEMENT and with uncovered 
HAMMERS pointing toward the KEYS. Most surviving examples, although unsigned, have been attributed to 
JOHANN MATTHAUS SCHMAHL. One harp-shaped piano, with a five-octave compass (FF-f 3 ) and inscribed by Gottfried 
Maucher of Constance, is in America's Shrine to Music Museum in Vermillion, South Dakota; another Maucher is owned by 
the Rosgartenmuseum in Constance. 



Klaus, Sabine K. "German Square and Harp-Shaped Pianos with Stofimechanik in American Collections: Distinguishing Characteristics of 
Regional Types in the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 27 (2001): 


Fig. 41 . Claviharpe by Johann Christian Dietz, 1814. Musee instrumental du Conservatoire Royal de Musique, Cat. no. 25 13; Bruxelles. 
(Courtesy of Da Capo Press [New York], agent for Franz Josef Hirt's Stringed Keyboard Instruments) 

Libin, Laurence. "The 'Lying Harp' and Some Early Square Pianos." Early Keyboard Si It Vor.vA fcr X, no. 3 (July 1994): 1-8. 

The inventory of musical instruments of the grand duke of Tuscany in Florence in 1700 includes the first mention of a 
piano: "un arpicimbalo di Bartolomeo Cristofori, di nuova inventione, che fa il piano e il forte" (a newly invented harpsichord 
by BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI which plays softly and loudly). The successors to JACOB KIRKMAN in London are 
reported to have produced their last harpsichord in 1 809. Within this space of about 1 10 years, the older keyboard instrument 
was gradually supplanted by the newer in a process still in the course of elucidation. This complex transition proceeded at 
different rates in various European musical centers. 

A number of questions present themselves. When were pianos, locally made or imported, available in the various 
countries? How does eighteenth-century keyboard music reflect changes in musical taste and style, especially regarding 
dynamics (notably those within the phrase) and the isolated sforzando (nuances impractical on the harpsichord)? Why were these 
new demands not satisfied by late expressive devices on harpsichords, such as registration knee-levers, peau de buffle plectra, 


machine stops and PEDALS, and Venetian and lid swells? Was the first public use of the piano in a particular musical center 
just a novelty — without lasting effect — or a definitive change? As to domestic music -making, there is only indirect evidence: 
letters and diaries, literary references, depictions of music-making at home, advertisements, and so on. 

Much has been made at times of the wording of title pages of eighteenth-century published music. However, the use of 
various words for keyboard instruments and the order in which they are listed are unreliable criteria because marketing 
considerations undoubtedly played a part. Publishers did not wish to limit potential sales only to those who possessed a piano. 
Furthermore, music was performed in any case on the instrument at hand. The owner of a magnificant harpsichord or even a 
modest spinet would not have hesitated to compromise or even to disregard altogether inexecutable dynamic indications in the 
score. Present-day piety toward the urtext was not an eighteenth-century preoccupation. What is more, the conventional use of 
the words harpsichord, clavecin, and cembalo on the title pages of keyboard music for which it is utterly unsuited persisted 
long after harpsichords were no longer in use. It should not be forgotten that only in the autograph score of his very last piano 
concerto (K 595 in B-flat Major) did MOZART finally write Piano forte instead of Cembalo. No one would seriously contend 
that its predecessors were conceived for or, indeed, playable on the harpsichord. As late as 1846, LISZT'S Tre sonnetti di 
Petrarca, transcriptions of his own song settings of three Petrarch poems (now part of the Italian volume of his Annees de 
pelerinage), were first published with a title page proclaiming them as composti per clavicembalo! 

Turning first to the availability of pianos, we know that Cristofori continued to include some pianos in his production after 
making his first one before 1700. Following his death, his disciple GIOVANNI FERRTNI continued this practice as well as 
building instruments with combined JACK and HAMMER ACTION. In 1739 DOMENICO DEL MELA of Gagliano di 
Mugello, near Florence, built the oldest surviving UPRIGHT piano. Tuscany was apparently the center of interest in the piano. 
It was there in 1732 that the first music specifically for the new instrument was published, LODOVICO GIUSTINI'S sonatas. 
But Italy as a whole seems to have long remained loyal to the harpsichord, so that piano making languished there until late in 
the century, when instruments of Viennese type began to be produced as well as imported. 

In 1717 CHRISTOPH GOTTLIEB SCHROTER in Saxony commissioned the building of "a model of a new keyboard 
instrument with hammers," which he claimed to have invented, in ignorance of its anticipation by Cristofori. Marchese 
FRANCESCO SCIPIONE MAFFEI'S essay published in Venice in 1711 describing Cristofori's invention appeared in a 
German translation published in 1725 in Johann Mattheson's Critica Musica. GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN of Freiberg, 
Saxony, finished two pianos on Cristofori's model by about 1736. JoHANN SEBASTIAN BACH played one, praised its 
sound, but thought the treble weak and the action heavy. Bach was pleased, however, by Silbermann's improved models, 
which he played at the court of FREDERICK THE GREAT in 1747, and even became a commercial agent for these 
instruments. In 1743 Gottfried Silbermann's nephew, Jean-Henri, returned to his native Strasbourg from a year in Freiberg 
and brought piano-making technology to Alsace. By 1755 Johann Andreas STEIN of Augsburg began to make pianos and by 
1773 had developed the improved "Viennese" GRAND PIANO action with an ESCAPEMENT. 

Around 1760 a dozen Saxon piano builders, including JOHANN CHRISTOPH ZUMPE, JOHANNES POHLMANN, 
Gabriel Buntebart, and JOHN GEIB — all of them refugees from the Seven Years' War that was devastating their native land — 
and AMERICUS BACKERS from Hoi land, set up shop in London and began producing small SQUARE PIANOS with a 
simple action without an escapement. Americus Backers, with the help of ROBERT STODART and his employer 
JOHN BROAD WOOD, developed the ENGLISH ACTION seen in a grand piano dated 1772. Stodart, now independent, 
PATENTED his design for a grand piano in 1777. English squares and grands now began to be widely exported to France and 
other European countries, as well as to the United States. The famous harpsichord workshops of SHUDI and Broadwood and 
the KIRKMAN family began to produce square and grand pianos during the last quarter of the century, gradually shifting 
their production over entirely to the newer instrument. The last Shudi and Broadwood harpsichord was produced in 1793, 
sixteen years before the Kirkman workshop definitively abandoned manufacture of the older-style instrument. 

The French Academy of Sciences received drawings of four different "hammer harpsichords" from JEAN MARIUS as 
early as 1716, but this seems not to have led to actual manufacture. In 1758 Johann Andreas Stein of Augsburg visited Paris, 
stopping off twice en route at the Silbermann workshop in Strasbourg where pianos were being made. The following year "a 
harpsichord of new invention called piano e forte" was advertised in Paris but without specifying its maker or other details. 
The 1766 inventory of the estate of harpsichord maker Francois Etienne Blanchet included a "harpsichord with hammers," 
again with its maker unspecified, probably an imported instrument. In 1777 SEBASTIEN ERARD began making Zumpe-type 
square pianos in Paris. By 1784 PASCAL TASKIN, court harpsichord maker, was still importing square pianos from Shudi 
and Broadwood in London like the one MUZIO CLEMENTI had brought on tour to Paris three years before. Soon afterward, 
Taskin himself was making grand pianos in Paris, but Erard, in spite of his longer experience with production of square 
pianos, only ventured to produce grand pianos on the English model in 1796. 

Florentine pianos were in use by the 1730s at the Portuguese and Spanish royal courts and, no doubt, in the houses of the 
nobility as well. Lodovico Giustini's sonatas, previously mentioned, were dedicated to a royal Portuguese prince. A Belgian 
maker, Henrique Van Casteel, active in Lisbon from 1757 to 1767, built pianos there on the Cristofori model. Francisco Perez 
Mirabal of Seville is known to have produced pianos around 1745 on similar lines. The 1758 inventory of the estate of Queen 


Maria Barbara of Spain, the patroness of DOMENICO SCARLATTI, lists a number of Florentine pianos, including some that 
had been converted to harpsichords, probably because local technicians could not repair and maintain the unfamiliar and 
complicated Cristofori-type action. Square pianos of English design were being built in Spain during the 1780s. 

A few highlighted events will serve to illustrate the gradual supplanting of the harpsichord by the piano. The introduction 
of the piano in public concerts has been dated in a number of cities: Vienna, 1763; London, 1767; Paris and Dublin, 1768. 
However, keyboardists of the stature of Mozart and Clementi went on performing on harpsichords and clavichords as well as 
on pianos until the end of the 1780s at least. JOSEPH HAYDN in 1790 still had to urge his close Viennese friend and 
patroness, Marianne von Genzinger, to replace her harpsichord with a piano by his preferred maker, JOHANN SCHANTZ. 
Frederick the Great, for all his enthusiasm for Silbermann pianos, of which it is said that he owned fifteen, was still ordering 
five and one-half octave Shudi harpsichords from England during the 1760s and 1770s. Haydn procured a similar instrument 
in 1775 for his employer, Prince Esterhazy. (These large harpsichords were likely intended for orchestral and chamber 
music.) Leopold Mozart ordered a harpsichord from the workshop of the FRIEDERICI brothers (Christian Ernst and Christian 
Gottfried) in Gera, Saxony, as late as 1770. In 1791 Haydn conducted from the piano at the Salomon concerts in London, 
replacing the harpsichord used at the rehearsals. In 1793 the performance of the annual birthday ode for George III of England 
used a piano rather than a harpsichord for the first time. Finally, in 1799, the Paris Conservatoire replaced the prize for 
harpsichord with one for piano, and appointed its first professor of piano, the composer Francois Adrien Boieldieu. 

As already noted, the wording of title pages can be misleading. A number of first mentions of the piano are nonetheless 
worthy of note. The first published music expressly designated for piano was Giustini's six sonatas, da cimbalo di piano, e 
forte detto volgarmente di martelletti (for harpsichord with piano and forte, popularly called with little hammers), issued in 
Florence in 1732. The German composer Johann Gott- fried Eckard, who arrived in Paris with Stein of Augsburg and 
remained there, published in 1763 six sonatas pour le clavecin but with dynamic gradations that "render this work equally 
suitable for harpsichord, clavichord or the Forte et Piano" adding that if he had only had the harpsichord in mind, this would 
not have been necessary. In a second publication the following year, the two sonatas are described on the title page as pour le 
clavecin ou le piano forte. The first Publication by a native French composer for clavecin ou piano forte came in 1768, six 
sonatas by Madame Victor Bayon-Louis. John Burton of London published ten sonatas "for the harpsichord, organ, or piano 
forte" in 1766, covering all bases. The conventional use of words like clavier, clavecin, and cembalo on published music in 
German-speaking countries renders it impossible to pinpoint the first mention of the piano on title pages. 

The dynamic comparability, if not equivalence, of contemporary pianos and harpsichords is attested by 
CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH'S double concerto of 1788 for them (H. 479, Wq. 47). This composer of the transition 
period is unique in having written music for clavichord, harpsichord, and piano distinctly labeled as such. When his younger 
brother, JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, elected to perform a "Solo on the Piano Forte" in London in 1768, it was not because 
he despised the tonally sumptuous English harpsichords of the period. He played on a small Zumpe square piano, a modest 
instrument by any standard, tonally weak and with a primitive action, far less refined than Cristofori's. The wish to present a 
novelty doubtless played a part, but more important by far were the new instrument's capacities, however limited, to allow the 
player to exercise dynamic control over the shaping of phrases and to balance the parts. In this respect, only the clavichord 
could equal the piano, but at a much lower volume level. Opening and closing the Venetian swell's shutters had far less effect 
on the sound of the harpsichord than the swell box did for the organ. Correctly manipulating the ingenious but complex 
system of six registration knee-levers on very late French harpsichords was a tour de force in itself and still did not provide 
the subtle gradations that were so easy to produce on the early piano. The soft leather peau de buffle plectra introduced in late 
eighteenth-century French harpsi chords by Pascal Taskin and others afforded only very limited dynamic nuance. 
Instruments with both piano hammers and harpsichord jacks, either playable from the same KEYBOARD, as in Giovanni 
Ferrini and JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN'S inventions, or combinating a harpsichord and a piano face-to-face (vis-a-vis Fliigel) 
in one enormous case, such as Stein produced, were sports that never found general acceptance. Those who reveled in beauty 
and amplitude of sound for its own sake were less ready to accept the early piano as equivalent to the harpsichord. The writer, 
philosopher, historian, poet, dramatist, and general know-it-all Voltaire in 1774 dismissed the piano as a "tinsmith's 
instrument" and the composer Claude-Begnine Balbastre, who later was to write much piano music, assured Taskin at about 
this time that "this bourgeois instrument will never dethrone the majestic harpsichord." We must not forget, however, that 
technical advances in piano building during the last quarter of the eighteenth century brought great improvements in tonal quality 
and volume as well as in the reliability and sensitivity of its action. 



Belt, Philip R., Maribel Meisel, et al. The Piano. London and New York: Macmillan Press and W.W.Norton, 1988. 
Gustafson, Bruce, and David Fuller. A Catalogue of French Harpsichord Music 1699-1 780. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990. 


Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954. 

Pascual, Beryl Kenyon de. "Francisco Perez Mirabal's Harpsichords and the Early Spanish Piano." Early Music 15 (1987): 503-13. 
Ripin, Edwin M. "Expressive Devices Applied to the Eighteenth-Century Harpsichord." Organ Yearbook 1:65-80. 
Ripin, Edwin M., Howard Schott, et al. Early Keyboard Instruments. London and New York: Macmillan Press and W.W. Norton, 1989. 
Schott, Howard. "From Harpsichord to Pianoforte: A Chronology and Commentary." Early Music 13 (1985): 28-38. 
HAWKINS, JOHN ISAAC (1772-1855) 

John Isaac Hawkins (b. Derbyshire, England, 14 March 1772; d. Elizabeth, New Jersey, 28 June 1855) studied metallurgy 
and civil engineering. He thus followed in the footsteps of his father, Isaac Hawkins, who was born in Glossop, Derbyshire, 
around 1752 and was an engineer. John Isaac Hawkins went to America sometime before 1790 where he briefly attended the 
College of New Jersey (later to become Princeton University) before setting up in business and, among other activities, 
produced pianofortes. 

Around 1 800 he appears to have had a family residence at Bordentown, near Trenton in New Jersey (an early center for the 
American piano industry), but in 1799 he is referred to as a piano maker at 15 South Second Street in Philadelphia. Here he 
devoted himself to improving the then rather primitive American UPRIGHT piano. All his inventions were PATENTED both 
in America and in England (where they appear in the patent register under the name of his father). The first, in 1800, covered 
an extraordinary range of "improvements" including a high-speed repeating ACTION by which, so long as a KEY was held 
down, the HAMMER would repeatedly strike the STRING with force. This he called his "Poiatorise stop." He also said that 
to avoid having the strings of an instrument (presumably not a piano) go out of tune as humidity varied, they could be made 
of "gut, silk or other strings" rendered waterproof. 

Significantly, though, both he and MATTHIAS MULLER of Vienna reached a simultaneous but independent conclusion 
that the upright piano could be made shorter by dispensing with the stand or trestle and resting the instrument directly on the 
floor. His "PORTABLE GRAND pianoforte" of 1800 stood only 54 ^ inches high. 

There were other improvements: again to reduce the dimensions of the piano, the long bass strings could be replaced with 
WIRE strings or coiled metal. Furthermore, Hawkins used his knowledge of metals to introduce bracings to support the 
tension of the strings. This was not a full iron frame or PLATE, but a framework of individual steel members bolted inside the 
wooden frame. 

The unusual pattern of mobility on Hawkins's part means that his instruments may bear either a London address or one in 
America. There is also a dilemma that the instruments of the father might just be confused with those of the son. However, 
four upright pianos are known: one, dated 1801, is inscribed " Hawkins /Invenit et Fecit/Patent/No. 6 1801/Philadel phia" and 
is presently at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; two are in the Marlowe A.Sigal collection in Newton Centre, 
Massachusetts (one of them, dated 1 803, is marked "John I.Hawkins/Inventor & Patentee/Dalby Terrace, City Road/London "); 
while the fourth one is in a private collection in Florida. 

Since one of the two pianos in the Sigal collection is dated 1803, London, it is probable that Hawkins was residing there at 
the time. His permanent return to London apparently took place a few years later, for in 1812 he resided and worked with his 
father Isaac Hawkins at Dalby Terrace, City Road. Later he moved to 79 Titchfield Street, Mary-le-Bone where his father also 
ran a coffee house. In 1819 he appears to have operated a "mechanical museum." His last London address is recorded as 26 
Judd Place, New Road, after which it is believed that he returned to New Jersey where he died ten years later. 

In 1 802 John Isaac Hawkins brought out the Claviol, a tall instrument like an upright piano that bowed its strings. In this he 
applied a method of string tensioning that he claimed could also be used on pianos, the string being attached to a nut on a 
threaded rod that could be turned for TUNING. He also invented the self-propelling "ever-sharp" pencil, a printing press, and 
numerous other engineering devices. A further invention of interest to musicians was the pantograph, a device to facilitate the 
accurate copying of musical scores. The object was to copy parts (presumably orchestral) very simply and, supposedly, 
accurately, merely by tracing the original notation with a stylus mounted on connecting rods that in turn connect with a pen 
that re-traces the material. 

The last address of Isaac Hawkins, Sr., was 26 Judd Place, New Road, London, around 1845, at which time he would have 
been around ninety-three years old. During that time besides interests in the coffee business he also retailed stationery. 

Curiously, Daniel Spillane writes disparagingly of Hawkins's work and, presumably because Hawkins had no piano- 
making background, attacks his instruments as "worthless," an injustice that Edwin Good points out may have come from 
Spillane's bias toward the work of ALPHEUS BABCOCK. 



Clinkscale, Martha Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1, 1700-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 

Good, lidwin .VI. < / Hhei Piano A Technological History from Cristofori to ihc Modern Concert Grand. 

Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982; 2d ed. ,2001. 


Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1974; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
"Hawkins' Claviole or Finger-Keyed Viol." Music & Automata (London) 3, no. 11 (March 1988): 139-141. 

Spillane, Daniel ' i / lis Technical Develop ult New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New 

York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 
Wairrwright, David. Broadwood by Appointniciii: A History. London: Quillcr, 1982. 
HAXBY, THOMAS (1729-1796) 

Thomas Haxby, of York, was an organ, spinet, harpsichord, and piano maker, and a music publisher and seller. The early 
years of Haxby's life were primarily concerned with harpsichord and spinet building. It seems that he continued to develop 
the harpsichord at least up until 1770, in which year he PATENTED a form of machine stop, and a harpsichord of 1777 still 
survives that incorporates it. Nevertheless, like many English instrument makers he must have been well aware of the need to 
move with the times, and his earliest surviving SQUARE PIANO dates from 1772. Thus, like the main English builders, for 
example, SHUDI and probably KIRKMAN, both types of instrument were made side by side in the workshops for a period of 
years. At least twenty square pianos dated between 1772 and 1794 survive. David Haxby and John Maiden (see bibliography) 
have been able to demonstrate that Thomas Haxby commanded a sizeable work force, and the sequence of numbers and dates 
on the surviving square pianos have shown that his workshops produced 375 in the period 1774-1792, though instruments 
also survive from 1793 and 1794. These instruments are invariably in the typical English style with crossbanded CASES and 
well-made KEYBOARDS with IVORY naturals and EBONY sharps, though the compass of the instruments varies, some having 
as few as fifty-nine KEYS with compass GG-f, while others have the more usual FF-f with the full sixty-one keys. Many 
instruments have attractive NAMEBOARDS with a range of decorative features highlighting the name of the maker, though 
these may have been made by a subcontractor. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord and Clavichord 1440-1840. 3d ed. Edited by Charles Mould. Oxford: Oxford University 
Press, 1995. 

Haxby, David, and John Maiden. "Thomas Haxby (1729-1796) Musical Instrument Maker." York Historian. Vol. 2. York: 1978. 
HAYDN, JOSEPH (1732-1809) 

Joseph Haydn was born in Rohrau, Lower Austria (31 March 1732) and died in Vienna (9 March 1809). Haydn's first 
acquaintance with the FORTEPIANO might well have been during his apprenticeship years in Vienna around 1750. Recent 
research makes it obvious that pianos were already known in Vienna many decades earlier than hitherto believed, but under 
the name of Fliigel ohne Kiele or cembalo, sometimes also clavier. In 1725 a Flugel ohne Kiele (harpsichord without quills) 
was advertised for sale in the Wienerisches Diarium. Hammer ACTIONS, built into harpsichord CASES, probably already 
existed at the imperial court in Vienna by 1718 or 1720. The new harpsichord with HAMMERS, invented by 
BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI, was given the same name in Vienna that Cristofori himself had given it and thus was either 
called simply cembalo, or cembalo che fa il piano e il forte, or cembalo con martelli, and so on. In German translation we find 
the term Flugel mit und ohne Kiele, which eventually became the terms Kielfliigel and HAMMERFLUGEL. The name piano 
forte or FORTEPIANO as a noun for the new kind of harpsichord was hardly known prior to 1 760 in Vienna; therefore its use 
in a document of 1763 found in the Hqfkammerarchiv (a public concert on a "fortipiano" took place in the Burgtheater in 
1763) is the real surprise in this document, not the fact that a piano was played publicly in 1763. 

Presently, the question whether Joseph Haydn had a fortepiano at his disposal in Eisenstadt during the 1760s cannot be 
answered positively and thus it may be doubted, though some of Haydn's early clavier sonata movements probably sound 
best on old fortepianos. However, around 1770 it seems that Prince Esterhazy acquired a GRAND PIANO for his new castle, 
Eszterhaza. According to a contemporary report quoted by H.C. Robbins Landon, during a summer concert in 1773 "a 
musician [Haydn?] was heard on a piano-forte" in Eszterhaza. This would explain far better the use of those more subtle 
dynamic signs that Haydn wrote in his great Sonata in C Minor, Hob XVI/20, composed in 1771, than any attempt to assign 
this work to a clavichord. While Haydn afterward composed some sonatas that one could imagine were meant for a Kielfliigel 
(harpsichord with quills), there can be practically no doubt that by the 1780s his keyboard works were intended to be played 
only on fortepiano instruments. In 1788 Haydn wrote to his publisher, Artaria: "In order to compose your 3 pianoforte 
Sonatas particularly well I had to buy a new fortepiano" (letter of 26 October 1788). This sentence means in all probability 
that his old fortepiano had to be replaced by a new one, because — perhaps — the old one may not have been built with the 
proper Viennese action (see WALTER, ANTON). In 1788 Haydn bought a fortepiano made by WENZEL SCHANTZ and 
two years later he also recommended that his highly esteemed friend, Madame von Genzinger, buy a new fortepiano from 
Schantz and not from Anton Walter (see SCHANTZ, JOHANN). There can be no doubt that Haydn's later sonatas are 
intended to be played on the fortepiano. On 20 June 1790 he wrote to Madame von Genzinger: "This Sonata was destined for 


Your Grace a year ago... it is ra ther d ifficult but full of feeling. It's a pity however, that Your Grace has not one of Schantz's 
fortepianos, for Your Grace could then produce twice the effect." And in July 1790 he wrote to her: "I am simply delighted 
that my Prince intends to give Your Grace a new fortepiano, all the more so since I am in some measure responsible for it: I 
constantly implored Mademoiselle Nanette to persuade your husband to buy one for Your Grace.... A good fortepiano is 
absolutely necessary for Your Grace, and my Sonata will gain double its effect by it." 

On Haydn's first visit to London, JOHN BROADWOOD supplied him with a CONCERT GRAND, and in Salomon's 
symphony concerts Haydn "conducted from the keyboard" using an instrument that was, according to one visitor, a 
"pianoforte," and to another a "harpsichord" — one more proof that even in England in the 1790s a pianoforte could still be 
called a harpsichord. 



Badura-Skoda, Eva. "Prolegomena to a History of the Viennese Fortepiano." Israel Studies in Musicology 2 (1980): 

."Zur Friihgeschichte des Hammer-klaviers." In Thu < i Musicologt Festschrift llclhmit /•'( > u 75. Geburtstag. 

Tutzing, 1988. 

Landon, H.C.Robbins. The Collected Correspondence and London Notebooks of Joseph Haydn. London: Barrie & Rockliff, 1959. 

."Haydn at Eszterhaza, 1766-1790." In Ilavdn: Chronicle and Works. Vol. 2. London: Thames and Hudson, 1978: 343. 


The Hazelton Brothers Piano Company was founded by Henry Hazelton (1 8 16-?) in 1850. Hazelton, born in New York, 
was apprenticed for seven years to the firm of Dubois and Stodart where he learned every aspect of the art of piano making. In 
1850 he joined with his brothers Frederick (fl. 1851-1880s) and John (fl. 1852-1890s) in founding the firm of Hazelton 
Brothers. Their pianos enjoyed an excellent reputation. They were among the most progressive builders in New York, 
adopting the full cast-iron FRAME and constantly working to improve their STRINGING scales, CASE, and ACTION 
design. After the retirement of the founders of the firm, control of the company was offered to a nephew, Samuel Hazelton, 
who had been trained by his uncles. The Hazelton name, purchased by KOHLER AND CAMPBELL in 1957, died with the 
collapse of the Kohler Piano Company. SERIAL NUMBERS with corresponding dates of manufacture for the years 1858- 
1957 can be found for Hazelton pianos in the Pierce Piano Alias. 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint New York: Dover, 1972. 
Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 8th ed. Long Beach, Calif.: Bob Pierce, 1982. 

Spillane. Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: lis Technical Development ami the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New 
York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Pantaleon Hebenstreit was born in 1667 in Eisleben, Germany, near Halle. Nothing is known of his childhood years and in 
fact it may be that Pantaleon was not his baptized name. He lived in Leipzig as a university student, where he attempted to 
support himself by playing the violin and giving both dancing and clavier lessons. His debts mounted, however, and he was 
forced to move to a remote village near Merseburg, where he lived with a pastor's family and served as a tutor. 

It was during this period (ca. 1686-1690) that Hebenstreit first decided to make improvements on the hammered dulcimer, 
or Hackbrett, a popular instrument of the region. With the help of the pastor, he greatly enlarged the instrument and 
experimented with using both steel and gut strings. His fame spread quickly as a dancing master who could give energetic 
musical performances, and he was soon invited to play his new hammered dulcimer in Dresden, Leipzig, and Berlin. 

Hebenstreit went to Paris in 1705 and performed for King Louis XIV, who christened this large dulcimer a "pantalon." 
According to Sarah E. Hanks, "the fact that the Sun King proposed naming the instrument after its inventor was a double- 
entendre. The term pantalon was a familiar designation in French and Italian comedy for a clown, and appropriately described 
the amusing jerks and leaps of the player's body, visible behind the large instrument." 

Several references were made to enlarged dulcimers during Hebenstreit' s lifetime, but there are many variations in 
spelling: Pantalon, Pantaleon, Panthaleon, and Pantalone. There are also various descriptions of the instrument. Generally, the 
pantalon was of trapezoidal shape and was from four to over eight-feet wide. It had two soundboards and two or more bridges 
and soundholes. Some two hundred or so strings were tuned by wrest pins in a range of up to five octaves. 

The pantalon was an important predecessor of the FORTEPIANO. Keyboard builders noted that the pantalonist used two 
hammers (covered on one end with hard LEATHER and on the other end with padded cloth) to achieve a wider range of 


dynamics than was possible on the harpsichord or clavichord. It was also noted that when one set of pantalon strings was 
played upon, the other set (attached to the bottom, or "flip side" of the instrument) vibrated sympathetically. Piano makers 
later achieved this same musical effect for their instruments with a damper PEDAL or knee lever. 

Hebenstreit hired GOTTFRIED SILBERMANN of Freiberg to build pantalons for himself exclusively. But in 1727 
Hebenstreit discovered that this well-known clavier builder had broken their business agreement and was selling pantalons to 
others. The matter was settled by a court order and Hebenstreit thereafter had the instruments built in Meissen by Johann 

In 1729 Hebenstreit was appointed Director of Protestant Church Music in Dresden at the Catholic court of August the 
Strong. This unusual appointment provided the popular aging virtuoso with security and an adequate income for his remaining 
years. He died in 1750 at age eighty-three, leaving behind several capable students and ten suites for pantalon and orchestra. 



Hanks, Sarah E. "Pantaleon's Pantalon: An 18th-Century Musical Fashion." The Musical Quarterly 55 (April 1969): 215- 27. 
Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954. 
Ylarcuse, Sibyl. Musical Instruments : New York : W.W. and Co., 1975. 

The longest-lived and best-known Canadian piano manufacturing firm, Heintzman & Company made pianos characterized 
by superb craftsmanship as well as design improvements and innovations. 

The firm was founded in the early 1860s (incoiporated in 1866), in Toronto, by Theodore August Heintzman (1817-1899). 
Heintzman had arrived in New York from Berlin in 1850. He worked in various piano factories in that city, including Lighte 
and Newton, and in Buffalo before pre -Civil War unrest and an invitation from Canadian piano builder John Thomas 
prompted his move to Toronto in 1860. 

Heintzman's improvements to the AGRAFFE, affecting the TONE and TUNING of the piano, his acoustic RIMS, which 
improved UPRIGHT PIANO tone, and his duofulcrum method of mounting KEYS contributed to the growing reputation of 
the firm and secured a good export trade for the instrument. Heintzman pianos were owned by artists such as Caruso, Melba, 
and Tetrazzini. 

Following Theodore's death, Heintzman was managed by his sons, a trend that continued through much of the firm's 
existence. Retail outlets were opened and the export trade remained brisk through the early twentieth century. In addition to 
GRANDS and uprights, PLAYER PIANOS were built until the 1920s. Nevertheless, even at its peak, production never 
exceeded three thousand pianos per year, the firm eschewing mass sales in favor of its commitment to high quality. 

In 1927 Heintzman acquired two of its main competitors, Gerhard Heintzman Company (founded by Theodore's nephew) 
and Nordheimer Piano and Music Company. The Heintzman firm survived the depression years by expanding its retail trade 
to include sheet music, phonographs and records, electronic organs, furniture, and large appliances. During World War II it 
relied upon defense contracts (building optical equipment such as bomb sight boxes). 

In the 1950s, under the administration of a nonfamily member, Edward L.Baker, the peripheral retail lines were dropped 
and the firm concentrated again on manufacture and sales of pianos. Production rose, and retail outlets increased to fifteen 
across the country. In 1962 the production of uprights was moved to a new factory in Hanover, Ontario, while grands were 
still built in the Toronto area. 

Following a steady decline in sales during the 1970s (largely due to U.S. and Asian competitors), an unsuccessful merger was 
effected in 1978 with the Sherlock-Manning Piano Company, the president and major shareholder of which was a great- 
grandson of Theodore Heintzman. The following year manufacture of uprights ceased and the subsequent year Heintzman 
Limited was sold to the Hanover furniture firm, Sklar Manufacturing Limited. 

Sales increased following a period of revitalization during which the piano and its CASE were recrafted and improved, and 
new upright designs were introduced. The success was short-lived and in 1986 production ceased altogether. Late that year a 
retail enterprise, The Music Stand, purchased the intangible assets of the Heintzman firm from Sklar. The Music Stand 
contracts various piano manufacturers in the United States to produce pianos with the Heintzman name. 



Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. S.v. "Heinzman & Co. Ltd." Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1981. 
Gould, Malcolm. "Heintzman Pianos." Canadian Music Trade 7, no. 2 (April-May 1985): 18-9, 24-5. 
Harbron, John D. "At Heintzman Hustle Replaces History." Executive (May 1961): 20-6. 


Fig. 42. Square piano by John Broadwood & Sons, no. 26910 (1823). View of hitch-pin plate. Formerly, University of Bristol, England. 

Harper, Tim. "The Heintzman family: 1 10,000 Pianos Later." Fugue 2, no. 1 (September 1977): 22, 34-5. 
HERVE, SAMUEL (fl. 1820s) 

Samuel Herve was an employee of the firm of JOHN BROADWOOD & SONS who, in 1821, applied the first fixed metal 
HITCH-PIN PLATE to one of their SQUARE PIANOS. An early example of the plate is seen on the sixty-eight-note square 
number 26910 (1822 or 1823) with "S.Herve" signature (University of Bristol, U.K.). The plate, pierced by six holes, fills the 
right-hand area including the top right corner, where a decorative wooden fret is normally fitted. There is no strengthening arm 
across the action gap to the wrest plank (PINBLOCK). All STRINGS are attached to the plate, whose outline minimizes the 
over-length of strings between each of the two BRIDGES and the plate (see Fig. 42). In contrast, the plate on seventy-three- 
note square number 37524 (1829) is smaller, the bass bridge strings are not attached to it, and there is still a corner fret. It 
should be noted that not all late 1820 Broadwood squares have plates, for example, number 35944 (1828). 



Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978 199-200, 396-7. 

The hitch pin is a metal pin upon which the end of the piano STRING opposite the TUNING PIN terminates. In "modern" 
pianos (built after about 1850), these pins are driven into the cast-iron PLATE. In earlier pianos, the hitch pins are generally 
driven into wood. 

See also Strings/Stringing 


HOFMANN, FERDINAND (ca. 1756-1829) 

Ferdinand Hofmann was an organ and piano builder in Vienna, where he became a citizen in 1784. He was chairman of the 
municipal organ and piano makers guild in 1808 and was granted the title "Kaiserlicher und Koniglicher Hof Kammer 
Instrumentenmacher" (By appointment to the Royal and Imperial Court) in 1812. He is described as having had eight 
apprentices and to have produced one instrument each week. Hofmann' s extant instruments are to be found both in private 
collections and in some of the major public COLLECTIONS around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 
New York, the Germanisches National Museum in Nurnberg, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the 
Musikinstrumenten-Museum of the University of Leipzig, and the Gemeente Museum in The Hague. The instruments known 
to the author comprise one clavichord, three SQUARE PIANOS, and nineteen GRAND PIANOS. Of the latter, three are not 
verifiably by Hofmann. 

The dates of these instruments range between about 1790 and 1825, with the greater number around 1800. Many of the 
instruments have original STRING gauge markings written on the front edge of their SOUNDBOARDS and some may well 


have even retained a number of original strings. The instruments vary in range: five octaves from FF to f; FF to g 3 ; FF to c 4 ; 
and six octaves from FF to f 4 . 

Like the pianos of many of his contemporaries in Vienna, the instruments of Hofmann are not dated. Nonetheless, it is 
possible to arrange them in a rough chronological order. Different variables such as string lengths, HAMMER-head widths, 
BRIDGE cross sections, BRIDGE PIN thicknesses, and KEYBOARD range all present a logical pattern that can be read as a 
chronological order. The string lengths of the grand pianos approximate Pythagorean SCALING very closely in the upper half 
of each instrument, indicating great care and a conscious effort in the positioning of the nut and bridge. The later the probable 
date of the instrument, the shorter the scaling is and the heavier the string gauges are, thus maintaining a fairly constant 
tension from instrument to instrument. This pattern of balancing shorter scaling with heavier stringing is broken with the 
advent of the two much larger six-octave instruments of about 1812 and 1825, which are triple strung throughout and have 
much longer bass strings than the five-octave instruments, which are only double strung from c 2 downward. The longer 
strings in the bass of the six-octave instruments and the fact that there are more strings, are both factors that contribute to an 
enormous increase in overall tension, which is matched by a new and much heavier construction of the CASES, especially in 
the circa 1825 instrument. 

The shortening of the scale in the earlier instruments cannot be accounted for in terms of a rise in PITCH. The pitch of the 
oldest instrument would have to be more than two semitones lower than the youngest for this to be true. The changes in the 
choices of scaling and string gauges represent a shift in aesthetic taste away from the sound given by thinner, longer strings to 
the sound of thicker, shorter strings. There is, however, one instrument that Hofmann probably intended for use at Choir Pitch 
(Chor Ton) rather than Chamber Pitch (Kammer Ton). This instrument does not fit the general pattern unless it is assigned a pitch 
a semitone higher than the rest. The conclusion that tension was kept constant in the smaller instruments assumes a constant 
pitch. If the pitch did rise during the period in which these instruments were made, the tension would also have risen. But the 
case construction of the five-and five-and-one -half-octave instruments hardly changes. It is only the two later instruments that 
show a markedly higher string tension and commensurate case construction. 

The weights of the hammers, the velocity of the hammer in relation to the speed of the player' s finger, the bridge cross- 
section, and the sizes of the bridge and nut pins all increase in the later instruments, indicating an increasing demand for 
power, concomitant with the increasing thickness of the strings. 

Whether the KEY covers are like those on a modern piano, with white naturals and black sharps, or whether the colors are 
reversed does not appear to be any indication of the age of a particular instrument. The use of bone-covered naturals and 
EBONY-topped sharps was reserved for instruments veneered in mahogany. Extant examples of such instruments all have 
veneered LIDS. Keyboards with ebony-covered naturals and bone-topped sharps were used for instruments with solid or 
veneered case sides and lids, using walnut, cherry, or yew as exterior wood. This latter category falls into three groups: the 
earliest have solid case sides, although the long side or SPINE is made of pine, veneered only on the inside with the same 
wood as that of the solid case sides. The lids of this group have solid lids made of framed panels. The middle-period 
instruments have veneered case sides and again, the spine is only veneered inside. The lids are solid and again, made of 
framed panels. The last group also has no veneer on the exterior of the spine, but not only are the other case sides veneered, 
but also the lids. Only the mahogany veneered instruments have veneer on the outside of the spine. The coupling of exterior 
wood type with the color disposition of the key coverings is abandoned in the later and larger instruments of six octaves. Both 
of these are veneered, including the exterior of the spine, with walnut. Both have bone-covered naturals and ebony-topped sharps. 
Until about 1812, then, the rule appears to be that mahogany instruments have white naturals, other woods use black. From 
about 1812 onward, all instruments have white naturals. Apart from three dubious exceptions, the present author knows of no 
exceptions to these rules in German or Viennese piano manufacture. 

Evidence from Hofmann pianos with their original lid FINISHES inside and out support the idea that the main lid was not 
opened for performance. It was either left closed or completely detached. The veneered lids have a superficial waxlike finish 
inside the main lid, in contrast to the high-quality finish inside the small lids and on the exterior of the instruments. Those lids 
that are paneled show plane marks on the unfinished insides of the main lid, while the small lids are finished inside to the 
same high standard as the outside case. All the lids are easily detachable. Many Hofmann instruments have retained their lid- 
sticks. These were probably used for technical servicing, for instance, to facilitate the replacement of broken strings. There are 
contemporary instruments of other builders, including some by ANTON WALTER, that not only have very rough inside lids 
but also no lid-sticks at all. 

The highly unusual brass hinges and hooks to be found on some of the earlier instruments of Hofmann are also present on a 
piano attributed to Johann Georg Holdrich, dated 1796, now in the Yale University Collection of Musical Instruments in New 
Haven, Connecticut. The Hofmann instruments with these same hooks and hinges have solid case sides and paneled lids. Such 
items as hooks and hinges must have been bought from an outside source. Other decorative items that appear to be unique to 
Hofmann are the gothic arcades on either side of the nameplate and in the MUSIC DESKS. But these are also found on 
instruments of JoSEPH BRODMANN and Caspar Catholnik. The combined hammer rest and check, each one individually 
mounted on its respective key, is also used in some actions of JOHANN SCHANTZ, Joseph Brodmann, and Sebastian 


Lengerer. It may not be coincidental in this context that Schantz and Hofmann were practically neighbors and that the last 
visit Hofmann made before his death was to his colleague Brodmann, who lived about twenty minutes away on foot. 

Four extant Hofmann pianos have later soundboards. Two of these replacements must have occurred fairly early on in the 
lives of the instruments. In all four cases the original bridge was retained. The replacement of soundboards was not balked at 
early in the nineteenth century, even when it came to instruments of Walter. Two instruments by him, one in the 
Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (inventory no. 539) and one in the Germanisches National Museum in Niirnberg (MIR 
1099), have later soundboards. 

The gradual changes presented by the five- and five-and-one-half-octave grand pianos of Hofmann indicate a change in 
aesthetic preference away from a less powerful, more sustained tone, richer in upper harmonics, toward a louder, fuller, and 
rounder sound. With the advent of the six-octave model, these changes are suddenly accelerated. The resulting increase in 
tension is matched by a new conception of case building with far stronger frame members and by a far heavier action. The 
instruments of Anton Walter, Johann Schantz, Johann Jakob Konnicke, Nannette STREICHER, and Johann Georg Grober all 
show that Hofmann was not alone in making these changes, although not all of these other builders, especially Walter, were 
so predictable in their changes. The number of surviving instruments made by Hofmann, and the completeness of the data 
they provide, offer measurable and convincing evidence for the changes we imagine must have occurred in the Viennese 
piano-building tradition between the last years of MOZART'S life and the death of Schubert. 



Colt, C.F., with Antony Miall. The Early Piano. London: Stainer & Bell, 1981. 

Fontana, Eszter. "Der Klavierbau in Pest und Buda 1817-1872." Studia Organologica 6 (1987): 143-85. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Haupt, Helga. "Wiener Insirumcnicnbau von 1791 bis 1815' Stu W i ' 0 dei Tonkunst in 

Osterreich 24 (1960): 120-84. 

Huber, Alfons. "Mensuierung, Besaitung und Stimmtonhohen bei Hammerklavieren des 18 Jahrhunderts (Teil I & II)." Das 
MusiMnstrument (July-September 1986): 1-10. 

."DekclsliUzen und Schalldekel am Hammerkkn ieren." Stiuliu < h-ganologicu 6 ( 1987): 229-51. 
Katalog zudtn S 'a lie. Halle an der Saaic. 1 66. 

Kinsky , Georg. Katalog des Musikhistorischen Museums von Wilhelm Heyer. Koln: Breitkopf und Hartel, 1910. 

Luithlcn, Victor. Katalog der Sammlung Alter Musikinstrumenten. Part 1, Saitenklaviere. Wien: Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1966. 

Meisel, Maribel, and Philip R.Beit. "Germany and Austria, 1750-1800" and "The Viennese Piano from 1800." In The Piano. Edited by 

Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 1988. 
Ottner, Helmut. Der Wiener Instrumentenbau 1815-1833 Tutzing: Schneider, 1977. 

Stradncr, Gerhard. Musikinstrumente in Grazer Sammlungen. Wien: Osterreichischen Akadamie der Wissenschaftcn, 1986. 
Walter, Horst. "Haydns Klaviere." Haydnstudien vol. 2, pt. 4 (1970): 256-88. 




For over three hundred years the piano has provided the musical foundation for individuals all over the world. From the last 
half of the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century, the piano was a pervasive item, nearly 
indispensible, in the homes of the western world. The piano's social function in the home was as important as its musical 

In the last half of the eighteenth century, however, pianos were luxury items found only in the homes of the wealthy in 
Europe and America. By the early nineteenth century, piano builders flourished and began producing compact UPRIGHT 
models that lower and middle-class families could also afford. Vienna alone had over one hundred builders in the early 1 800s, 
and with mass production methods in England and later in America, the piano quickly became available to large numbers of 
people. By the 1850s and 1860s, a great number of comfortable middle -class families in Europe and America owned pianos. 

Young ladies, who had leisure time and were expected to demonstrate grace and refinement made up the majority of 
performers in the home. They had a social duty to learn to perform on the piano, at least in a moderate way, and a significant 
amount of insubstantial music was written specifically for them. Their ability to play well demonstrated that they were 
dedicated, had good work ethics, and were culturally refined young women. Their musical talents added greatly to their 
romantic auras and seriously improved their prospects for marriage. Playing duets could also allow a young gentleman and a 
young lady the opportunity to sit close to one another and to cross hands occasionally — an opportunity not to be taken lightly 
in the nineteenth century. 


On the other hand, a small number of nonprofessional musicians worked diligently to learn the fine points of playing the 
piano. For these students, the piano provided an opportunity to leam masterpieces by the great composers of the solo as well 
as the orchestral and chamber repertories. 

Naturally, before these young people could learn to play well, they had to take lessons, which they did, usually in their own 
homes, with various degrees of frequency. Some took them daily, others weekly, and others in more rural areas, 
approximately once a month. They studied the latest etudes of Johann Baptist Cramer or Carl Czerny, or 
MUZIO CLEMENTI'S Gradus ad Parnassum; but in all likelihood they spent most of their "practice time" playing and 
singing along with the tunes from the most recent musicals or operas they had seen or heard about. If they did not want to 
accompany themselves as they sang the tunes, they could always play the ubiquitous variations on the tunes of the day. 

The also performed popular dance music (particularly the "scandalous" waltzes composed by Schubert and von Weber, as 
well as by numerous lesser composers), program compositions (storm scenes and sentimental death scenes were always 
popular), and the omnipresent battle pieces. The latter were particularly popular with the young boys who could fill their heads 
full of military splendor as they participated without risk in the Battle of Waterloo or the Battle of Prague. The playing and 
singing of hymns at the piano was also of great importance, particularly in America. 

Since playing the piano was not always a solitary affair, piano compositions often would include an ad libitum flute or 
violin part, so that others could join in the entertainment. Piano duets, family sing-alongs, and various chamber possibilities 
arose in the nineteenth century. The chief emphasis, however, remained one of entertainment, not of serious performance. 

The quality of the piano playing in most homes can only be imagined. The majority of students who played for their own 
enjoyment probably did not know how to properly execute embellishments in classical compositions or understand the fine 
points of piano TECHNIQUE, and more often than not were playing on a piano that was not in the best of TUNE or condition. 

Before the piano became standardized as it basically is today, various innovations and designs were explored. Some homes 
may have had GIRAFFE pianos or pianos that also functioned as tables, cabinets, or beds; nevertheless, the majority of the 
pianos in the home were recognizably like today's instruments in appearance if not in actual sound. 

The early twentieth century witnessed the rise and dominance of American piano builders, both of concert instruments and 
those intended solely for the home. STEINWAY, BALDWIN, KIMBALL, and hundreds of other companies had firmly 
established their markets and were producing thousands of pianos that the consumers rapidly purchased, bringing about a high 
point of piano ownership in the 1920s. (Nearly one in every two city-dwelling families owned pianos in America.) The 
automation of PLAYER PIANOS introduced the enjoyment of actively participating in creating music without the necessity of 
having any musical ability. All that was required was for the excited child to pump the pedals, or later turn the electric switch, 
and the glories of "Alexander's Ragtime Band" or "My Old Kentucky Home" poured forth. The trend of automatic pianos 
during the 1920s was so widespread in America that these entertainment devices actually outsold the traditional pianos of all 

The depression years brought an end to the notion that nearly every home had to have a piano, and the piano market 
virtually collapsed. To find new buyers, smaller and cheaper models were produced (e.g., the BABY GRAND and SPINET), 
but the piano never again became as universal as it had been in the early years of the twentieth century. Even when Japan took 
over the leadership of producing pianos in the late 1960s a much smaller percentage of the population owned pianos than had 
sixty years previously. 

Today, students have begun to play at earlier and earlier ages. Many take lessons because their families have inherited 
pianos and they want someone in the family to be able to play it. Many others learn because of the tradition of having 
musicians in the families. Whatever the reason, hundreds of thousands of young students all over the world take lessons and 
practice compositions consisting of beginning method books, which take them step-by-step into the wonders of music, to the 
standard repertoire of BACH and BEE-THOVEN. Just as common, however, are pianists who are not immersed in the 
classics and who perform the latest movie hits or the Top 40, church hymns, or jazz tunes. 

The outlook for the traditional piano in the home as we know it is not promising. The piano in the twenty-first century will 
likely diminish in importance as SYNTHESIZERS and ELECTRONIC keyboards continue their popularity and become the 
dominant keyboard instruments. The piano will remain for the serious student of music, but its fate will likely be that of the 
clavichord and the harpsichord, as far as home ownership is concerned, in the not-too-distant future. 



Carson, Gerald. "The Piano in the Parlor." American Heritage 17 (December 1965): 54-9. 
Cooke, James Francis. "The Piano as a Home Investment." The Etude 47 (February 1929): 91. 
Gaines, James R., ed. The Lives of the Piano. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981. 
Gill, Dominic, ed. The Book of the Piano. Ithaca, N .Y.: Cornell University Press, 1981. 


Hildcbrandt, Dieter. Pianoforte: A Social History of the Piano. Translated by Harriet Goodman. New York: Brazillcr, 1988. 
Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. Preface by Jacques Barzun. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954. 
Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America 1890-1940. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 
Scott, Frank A. "A Survey of Home Music Study." MTNA Proceedings (1919): 171-7. 

One of the determining factors in the development of the piano industry in Hungary was its proximity to Vienna, one of the 
most important centers of piano building. Viennese piano makers produced large numbers of pianos, considerably surpassing 
the local needs. In addition, the work was divided among skilled craftsmen specializing in particular aspects of the 

For Hungarian builders this meant a perpetual challenge of craftmanship and at the same time insurmountable competition. 
Beyond geographical proximity, political connections also played a role, in that almost all of the Hungarian piano makers had 
spent a period of time in Vienna during their learning years, and their work had followed the Viennese building practices. The 
major Hungarian centers of the piano industry were Buda and Pest (after 1872 Budapest) and there were important workshops 
in the cities of Pozsony, Kassa, L6cse and Menhard (in Slovakian territories) and in Szeged in southern Hungary. 

In the first half of the nineteenth century, irrespective of whether there had been a guild of musical instruments makers in 
the town or not, piano makers worked according to classical guild traditions. They themselves purchased the necessary raw 
materials and parts for the piano (except the metal parts, STRINGS, and KEYBOARD, which had been brought from Vienna) 
and constructed the instruments themselves. The majority of the masters worked alone or with one or two assistants, and only 
in the larger workshops were there more than ten pianos made per year. The piano makers adjusted their plans to the requirements 
of the costumers, making several kinds of models simultaneously. This practice made it impossible to increase productivity by 
means of a more efficient division of labor and thus reduce the cost of the instruments. The pianos made were sold in the 
workshop of the master or in the marketplace. Some of the larger workshops were active from as early as the first decades of 
the nineteenth century, among them that of the interior decorator and furniture-factory owner Sebastian Vogel (1779-1837) in 
Pest, working with four assistants. In each of the Pest shops of Karoly Driiner (fl. 1813- 1839), Jakab Lettner (fl. 1810— 
1825), and Anton Matschinger (fl. 1806-1824) there were four to six assistants who produced twenty to thirty instruments per 
year. About 1830 approximately three hundred pianos were made in Hungarian workshops. Except for the shipping charges 
and duty imposed on the imported Viennese pianos, the Hungarian and Viennese pianos were competitively priced and equal 
numbers of each were sold. 

The 1830s-1840s was a period of Hungarian efforts for independence, with movements supporting national industry and 
culture. This resulted in a golden age for Hungarian piano makers. The number of self-employed masters increased, though 
their number was limited by the statutes of the guilds, and some of the workshops had eight to ten assistants. Thirty to forty 
pianos were made annually in the Pest workshops of Driiner, Vendel Peter (1795-1874), Vilmos Schwab (fl. 1814-1856), and 
Ferenc Zobel (1793-1841), and by Karoly Schmidt (1794-1872) in Pozsony (Bratislava). The craftsmen kept up with current 
developments in the piano industry and their products were acclaimed in the industrial expositions of Pest and Vienna (1835, 
1839, 1845). Notable inventions were umented: according to contemporary press accounts, Karoly Augustin had already 
begun his experiments with down-strike ACTIONS in 1 822 and perfected it in 1 824, the same year it was PATENTED by 
MATTHIAS MULLER in Vienna; Schmidt made and patented a pressed SOUNDBOARD and a "Clavi-Aelodicon" in 1826, 
and Schwab made and patented in 1839 a set of brass strings he called "Schlangensaiten" (snake strings) because they form a 
zigzag line. 

The war of independence of 1848-1849 was a landmark in the history of the Hungarian piano industry. The old workshops 
working within the boundaries of guild practice did not survive the stagnation caused by the war, nor could they keep up with 
the economic changes of the country, including the dissolution of the guild system and the termination of the protective tariff. 
Among the firms that had been established in the first half of the nineteenth century only the two largest were able to increase 
their production to fifty or sixty instruments per year; these were Schmidt and Lajos Beregszaszy (1817-1891). Up until the 
1860s the piano dealers Peter and Gustav Chmel and Sohn (1844-1928) had imported mainly Viennese pianos, but after 1870 
German pianos were also imported. Between 1870 and 1900, 1,500 to 1,900 instruments were sold in Hungary annually, but 
only 5 percent of this number were manufactured in Hungary. The most significant Hungarian builders were Schmidt in 
Pozsony (between 1823 and 1859:1,300 pianos) and Beregszaszy in Pest, whose workshop produced 1,500 pianos between 
1846 and 1879. Among his inventions, the most interesting is the convex or "cello" soundboard (1873), which was also 
adopted by BOSENDORFER in Vienna. The innovative six-tier keyboard invented in 1882 by PAUL JANKO (1856-1919) 
in Tata caused a great stir in professional circles. Workshops of smaller capacity were Janos Feher (fl. 1847-1874) with ten 
workers, Sandor Ledeczy (1846-1899) with eight to ten workers, Karoly Vegh B. (firm founded in 1884, fl. 1890) with six 
workers who made 50 UPRIGHTS and GRANDS annually. Vegh B. also had a patent for a TRANSPOSING piano (1884). 
The Harmonia company founded in 1881 made 150 pianos yearly with thirteen workers, but it stopped manufacturing in 1889. 
The most significant workshop at the end of the nineteenth century was run by the furniture manufacturer Endre Thek (1842- 


In the first decades of the twentieth century the center of the piano industry was still the capital, Budapest, but the builders 
dealt mostly with trade and repairs rather than with production. The Musica company, founded in 1908, manufactured 
uprights and grands and also had a workshop for repairs; the firm employed twenty to twenty-five workers. In 1960 Musica 
ceased making grands and from this time on limited its production to three hundred to five hundred uprights annually. These 
instruments have been sold exclusively abroad under various names (Musica, Talisman, Uhl-mann). The firm, after repeated 
changes of ownership, operated in the early 1990s for some years under the name of Lign-Art Limited but gave up producing 
new instruments. There is now no active piano manufacturing company in Hungary. 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 1, 1700- 1820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. 

Fontana, Eszter. "Der Klavierbau in Pest und Buda 1817-1872." In Studia Organologica (Festschrift for John Henry van der Meer). Edited 

by Friedemann Hellwig. Tutzing: Hans Schneider (1987): 143-85. 
Gat, Eszter. "Pest-budai zongorakesziok." In Budapest vdrosto teneti monogrdfidk, 32. Edited by Melinda Kaba and Emese Nagy. 

Budapest: Budapest! Torteneti Miizeum, 1991:147-259. 

Ludwig Hupfeld A.G. was the largest manufacturer of automatic musical instruments in the world. In 1872 J.M.Grob, 
A.O.Schulze, and A.V.Niemczik opened a business called J.M.Grob and Company in Eutritzsch, a suburb of Leipzig. During 
1882 they began dealing in mechanical musical instruments. So great was the demand that the following year they began 
production of their own wares, taking out PATENTS for improvements in 1884 that included the mandolin effect for 
BARREL PIANOS and, in 1886, a player mechanism for pianos or organs. This was a mechanical system operated by a 
revolving perforated card disk. 

Ludwig Hupfeld acquired the business in 1892, and the name changed to Hupfeld Musikwerke. Hupfeld soon launched the 
first of many PIANO PLAYERS, and in 1899 the business was moved to a new factory. Rapid expansion demanded a much 
bigger plant, to which the business moved in 1911. This was at Bohlitz-Ehrenberg. Hupfeld produced the first European 
EXPRESSION PIANO— the Phonoliszt— in 1904. This was developed from the Phonola seventy-three-note 
PLAYER PIANO. A year later came the DEA, a full REPRODUCING PIANO that was to rival the Welte-Mignon, the 
world's first reproducing piano. The firm subsequently produced a superlative range of ORCHESTRIONS (Hupfeld called 
them "Orchestras"), which were really mechanical recital organs. The most notable achievement, though, was the creation of 
the Phonoliszt-Violina violin player. The company acquired the Ronisch piano factory in Dresden (1917) and in the same year 
the A. H.Grunert piano factory in Erzgebirge. Later it bought up part of the AEOLIAN COMPANY'S German interests, 
including the Steck piano factory at Gotha (1920). In 1926 Hupfeld merged with piano and reed-organ makers Gebr. 
Zimmermann, and in 1946 (Leipzig then being in East Germany) it became VEB Deutsche Piano Union. Today the factory is 
a major producer of ordinary pianos. The last automatic instruments were made around 1930. 



Bowers, Q.David. Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments. Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1972. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Pianola— History and Development. London: Allen & Unwin, 1984. 



The firm of Ibach has long been recognized as one of the most distinguished of German piano manufacturers. It was 
founded more than two hundred years ago when (Johannes) Adolph Ibach (1766-1848) opened his workshop in Beyenburg 
(now Barmen), near Diis- seldorf, in 1794. Upon taking his elder son Carl Rudolph (1804-1863) as partner in 1834, Adolph 
revised the name of the firm to Adolph Ibach und Sohn. Carl Rudolph's brothers Richard (1813-1889) and Gustav Adolph 
also joined the company. After Adolph's death the firm continued under the name of Adolph Ibach Sonne, Orgelbauanstalt 
und Piano fortefabrik. After Carl Rudolph's death his widow became a partner in the business, with Richard and his nephew, 
(Peter Adolph) Rudolph (1843-1892), splitting the organ and piano operations. Richard then assumed command of the organ 
division, while Rudolph, his brothers Gustav Adolph and Walter, together with their mother, directed the piano operations. 
After Rudolph Ibach's death in 1892, his widow Hulda Reyscher Ibach (1845-1921) successfully managed the company for 
more than twelve years, until her sons came of age. The Ibach descendants (as Rud. Ibach Sohn) broadened the business, 
bringing it into prominence as a factory of international repute. During World War II the Ibach factories at Barmen and 
Dusseldorf were severely damaged in bombing raids, and the headquarters were consequently moved after 1945. Formerly 
headed by Adolf Ibach (1911-1999), Rudolf Ibach Sohn is located in Schwelm, where the firm specializes in GRAND and 
UPRIGHT models. 

As of 2002 the directors were Rolf (b. 1940) and Christian Ibach. In the 1980s Ibach expanded by purchasing the venerable 
SCHIEDMAYER piano division (est. in 1809) and the piano firm of Roth and Junius (est. in 1889), known for its affordable 
instruments for home and school. Both brand names are still in production under the auspices of Rudolf Ibach Sohn. Daewoo 
of Korea now owns about one-third of the Ibach company. 



Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1 , 1 700- 1 820. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 993 . 

. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Grove 's Dictionary <>/ Music ami Musicians. 5th ed. S. v. "Ibach." 

Heyde, Herbal Vlasikinstn i iui n ! n hneider, 1994. 

i in I i ,i/ i , i , ( / A uinl Ins nam 1440 1880. Translated by M. Bochme-Brown. Boston, Mass.: Boston Book and Art Shop, 

1968. Also, Meisterwerke des Klavierbaus. Dietikon-Ziirich: Urs Graf (distributed in the U.S. by Da Capo Press), 1981. 
"Ibach." Das Musikinstrument 40 (April 1991):22^1. 
"Ibach remains Ibach." Das Musikinstrument 40 (April 1991): 126-7. 
Neupert, Hanns. "Ibach." Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 6: 1033 ff. 

The piano industry in Italy achieved only a level of semi-craftsmanship until the unification of the various states into a 
single kingdom (1860-1870). The production of pianos suffered from the excessive fragmentation of productive factories; in 
total, the manufacturers that we know of amount to more than four hundred. Because the local product was limited to a few 
thousand instruments per year, the industry has constantly lagged behind the national demand; in addition, the Italian piano 
industry never had a true CONCERT GRAND PIANO until the 1980s, when the newly established FAZIOLI firm qualified 
as one of the first on the international level. 

From 1825 until the unification of Italy around 1870, every single state of the peninsula (Regno di Napoli, Granducato di 
Toscana, Regno Lombardo-Veneto, Ducato di Parma, Regno di Piemonte e Sardegna) developed its own piano industry, with 
the exception of the Vatican State, extending geographically as far north as Ferrara. However, the various regional industries 
were economically backward and could not adopt a modern industrial mentality. The productive growth in this period was 


strongly inhibited by (1) high customs taxes, even between Italian states; (2) not enough capital invested in the industry; (3) 
no partnerships among industrialists who, in general, were opposed by the government for political reasons; (4) a lack of 
factories producing accessories, such as metal STRINGS and PINS, FELT for ACTIONS, KEYS, and so on. To all of that add 
the snobbish love for imported products and strong preferences for lyric vocal music (something confirmed by the fact that, 
compared to the enormous number of opera houses in Italy, auditoriums for symphonic music or chamber music constructed 
in the course of the nineteenth centuiy were almost nonexistent). There were varying trends and types of piano construction in 
each of the Italian states. 

Kingdom of Napoli 

Piano production began shortly after Napoleonic rule. Ferdinand II (crowned in 1830) stimulated industrial growth in the 
Neapolitan provinces. During that period many foreign entrepreneurs were attracted to the region because it offered safe 
political conditions, protective taxes, good return on investment, and a promising consumer market. Promotion of musical 
instrument production, in particular, was given an impetus by the Reale Istituto d'incoraggiamento delle scienze naturali 
(Royal Institute for the Encouragement of Natural Sciences); established in 1806. In Naples the piano builder Carlo De 
Meglio was the first to produce pianos on a large scale. He had already been an award winner in the Industrial Expositions of 
1828 and 1838. De Meglio PATENTED his own action in 1840, making his family (with Giovanni, Leopoldo, and 
successors, up at least to 1887) the best known among piano build-ers in Naples during the nineteenth century. 
Among the other early piano makers in Naples (more than one hundred), the outstanding were 

Carl Fischer (from Vienna, fl. ca. 1820-1830; his sons went to New York about 1840, founding the firm of J. & 

Giacomo Ferdinando Sievers (from Russia, active in Naples 1834-1878; in 1834 starting in Kovata's firm, then in his 

Giorgio Helzel and his son Egidio (fl. 1832- 1887) 

Onorato Mercier (from the Low Countries, fl. 1832) 

Paolo Nicolai (fl. 1834-1860; also building "upright pianos") 

Giovanni Stanzieri (fl. 1841-1876) 

Michele Kovata (Kovats) (from Hungary, fl. 1834-1841) 

Antonio Fummo (fl. 1843-1873, also building original types of "organized pianos") 

Federico Muller and Brother (also Muller Bros, and Reisig) (fl. 1849-1875); they were the first to introduce the 
double ESCAPEMENT action in that state, for which they received a patent in 1850 

Giovanni Maurer (fl. 1849-1882), who in 1853 introduced, for the first time in Italy, a one-piece iron FRAME 
Giacomo and Giovanni Schmid (also Schmid and Peter) (fl. 1849-1882) 
Muti, father (active before 1850) and his son Raffaele (fl. 1854-1860) 
Paolo Bretschneider (fl. 1850-1880) 
Giuseppe Chierchia (fl. ca. 1850-1860) 

Vincenzo Mach (fl. 1850-ca. 1875), who in 1853 received an award for a piano with AGRAFFES 

Pasquale Federico and Brother (fl. 1853-1907) 

Pasquale Dolce (fl. 1856-1860) 

Raffaele Madonna (fl. 1858-1870) 

Luigi Nunneri and successors (fl. ca. 1860-1906) 

Alessandro Falcone (fl. 1860-1883) 

Giuseppe Riek (fl. 1860-1887) 

Angelo and Giuseppe Napolitano (fl. 1860-1901) 

Vittorio Giuliano (Giuliani) (fl. 1873-1900) 

Antonio D'Avenia and his successor Giovanni (fl. 1860-1907) 

Luigi D'Avenia (fl. 1860-1901; also a mandolin maker) 

Boznichi (fl. ca. end of 19th-beginning of 20th century) 

Giuseppe Marciano (fl. 1860-1887) 

Gabriele (son of Gaetano) Scognamiglio (Scognamillo) and his son Achille (fl. 1860- 1903) 
Enrico, Federico, and Luigi Del Gais (Gays) (fl. 1860-1906) 

Antonio D'Ambrosio e Figlio (fl. 1860-1901), which claims to have been "established in 1758" (probably of the 
Luthiers family) 

Antonio Amendola (fl. 1860-1890) 
Federico Coppi (fl. 1860-1910) 


Costanzo and Vittorio Fassone (fl. 1882-1904) 
Giuseppe Rick (fl. 1882-1910) 
Pasquale Samo (fl. 1882-1900) 

All of these artisans made use of every type of action available at the time — PLEYEL, ERARD, Boisselot, BROAD WOOD, 
Viennese — often introducing their own personal innovations. Sievers, a manufacturer born in Saint Petersburg (1810, and for 
five years active also in Riga) who relocated to Naples in 1834, became particularly renowned as the author of the most 
important treatise on the construction of the piano published worldwide in the whole nineteenth century (1868). In that work 
he illustrates two actions of his own invention and a few methods of TEMPERAMENT. We must note that until the 1880s the 
majority of Neapolitan manufacturers rejected equal temperament, preferring instead to use circular tunings even more 
unequal than the Vallotti temperament. 

The number of workers employed by musical instrument builders in the Kingdom of Napoli, excluding Sicily, in 1860 was 
around fifteen hundred — piano being the major instrument produced. In that year industrial production was still protected 
from high customs taxes (as high as 10 to 12 percent). However, after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy customs taxes 
were drastically reduced to 3.5 percent, the lowest in Europe, a rate already in use in the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia. 
The result was that while in 1860 there were sixty-five to seventy piano builders in Napoli (forty-two of them of important 
size), by 1877 the number was reduced to thirteen, and by 1887 to seven. Many workers found themselves suddenly 
unemployed and forced into delinquency. Of the thirty, workers employed by Sievers in 1860, only twelve remained by 1877, 
of which two were in prison and one just released. At his death in 1878, Sievers left his factory to his employees, but things went 
from bad to worse, and they were soon forced to shut down. After a few years, Pasquale Curci (1855-1937), who for some 
time had tried to run the Sievers factory and who is known as the founder of the famous Casa editrice musicale, obtained the 
exclusive rights to sell the pianos of Erard and Pleyel in southern Italy, thus marking the end of this branch of industry in 
Naples. In 1907 only three small manufacturers still managed to survive. 

Outside the capital city of the kingdom, in the second half of the century, only a very few piano builderswere operating. 

In Sicily: 

Adolfo Braun (fl. 1873) 

Giovanni Sardi (fl. 1846) 
L. Lifonti (fl. 1878-1882) 

Francesco Stancampiano (fl. 1861-1876), followed by Giuseppe (fl. 1923-1926) 
Giuseppe La Grassa and his brother Pietro, also organbuilders (fl. ca. 1870-1900) 

Luciano Strano and his successors (est. 1886 to the present) 
In Lecce: 

Vincenzo Madonna (est 1849-fl. 1926) 

In Lanciano (Chieti): 

Quirino Cipollone (1810-1864) 

Giuseppe Di Diego and his brother Luigi (fl. 1870-1877) 

Grand Duchy of Tuscany 

With the end of the Medici dynasty in 1737, Tuscany passed to a branch of the house of Hapsburg, becoming a district of the 
government of Vienna. Pianos were imported from Austria where they met immediate favor among the Tuscans, partly 
because — unlike those of local production — they were polished to an extremely high luster. This preference for the Austrian 
pianos diverted attention from the prominent workshops of BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI (1655-1732) and 
GIOVANNI FERRINI (fl. 1699-1758), leaving the impression that there was no true Tuscan school but just a few isolated 
artisans. The first pianos to be manufactured on a semi-industrial scale in Tuscany were produced by the house of Lucherini, 
directed by a German technician, using German labels on his instruments and also using the Viennese action. Around 1830— 
1831 the brothers Antonio and Michelangelo Ducci (fl. ca. 1830-1847) built instruments almost identical to those of Karl 
Andreas STEIN, with whom Michelangelo Ducci had served as apprentice. In 1841 the two brothers invented a hydraulic 
veneering machine, imitating the high polish used on the Viennese instruments so popular with the Florentines. The Ducci 
firm introduced new types of actions — Pleyel, Elke, Bord — and eventually manufactured up to forty pianos per month, but by 
1888 all activities of the Ducci firm had ceased. Among the piano makers operating in Florence before 1850, Luigi Berlians 

I M 

(fl. ca. 1830-1847) was one of the first to introduce into Italy the double escapement of Sebastien Erard. Other Florentine 
builders included Saltini (fl. 1844) and the Reali Brothers (fl. 1861-ca. 1875). 

Among the other Tuscan cities, around the 1860s Livorno was the chief site of piano manufacturing. Livorno builders 
active at this time included Giuseppe Braccini, Giovacchino Casotti, Ferdinando Marini, and Malenchini. 

Kingdom of Lombardy-Venice and the Duchy of Parma 

In Milan the piano industry officially got underway with Giuseppe Cattaneo (fl. 1834-ca. 1844), who received a gold medal 
from the Regio Istituto di scienze in 1834 and may have been the first in Italy to have received financial backing from a local 
businessman to make it possible for him to transform his shop into a small modern factory. After his death, his pupil 
Ambrogio Riva (fl. 1841-1855) took over the business in partnership with Michele Voetter (Woetter) (fl. 1845- 1857). By 
1845-1847 they were producing at least one pianoforte per week and three hundred in the course of the first six years of their 
partnership. During the same time two other pupils of Cattaneo, Angelo Colombo (est. 1848 — successors fl. 1932) and Luigi 
Stucchi (fl. 1845-1871), traveled to France to improve their craft, the first with Boisselot, the second with Erard. When they 
returned to Italy, each was able to open an establishment similar to Riva's. 

In the same years other builders emerged, among them Cesare Vago and Company (fl. 1832-1851) and Stefano Abate (fl. 
1851-1853), but the leadership of the Milanese piano industry was decisively taken over by Colombo. From 1855 to 1857 he 
was able to double the number of employees (up to forty), placing on the market about 150 pianos in two years. Price lists 
indicate that the pianos made with French actions cost twice as much as the ones made with Viennese actions. Colombo 
experimented tirelessly, treating SOUNDBOARDS of his pianos with a special violin varnish invented by his associate 
Camploy. Colombo also experimented with various types of FRAMES reinforced with iron. The Gazzeiiu musicale di Milano 
(1871) also con- firmed that prior to 1859 he was manufacturing pianos with a larger soundboard and with 
CROSS-STRINGING, and incorrectly attributed the invention to him. The 1855 issue of the same journal published the first 
proposal to introduce DUPLEX SCALING in order to improve the sonority of Colombo's pianos. This same idea was later 
patented in 1872 by STEIN WAY, who first utilized it in production. Colombo, along with the other Milanese manufacturers, 
sold his instruments bearing the family name, not labels contrived of foreign names, as was the custom in other parts of the 

Among the other Italian cities still under the rule of Austria, Parma was the site of the Berzioli brothers' factory, founded in 
1836 and still active in 1916. The Berziolis, along with the abbot Gregorio Trentin (1768-1854) in Padua, are credited with 
introducing the piano industry into that region. Padua was already known as a pioneering area and by the 1830s the Nicolo 
Lachin firm had become established there. Twenty years later, the celebrated Austrian pianist Sigismond Thalberg publicly 
expressed positive views regarding Lachin's instruments, which in large part were equipped with the Pleyel action. The 
number of employees in his establishment had to be tripled to fill the sudden demand. 

A distinguished Venetian firm, founded in Rovigo in 1852 by Vincenzo Maltarello (1831-1907), expanded rapidly in early 
1859 when he transferred it to Vicenza, producing "Maltarello," "Zwikao," and "Pfeifer" marks. At the 1867 Paris Exposition 
the pianos by this firm were judged the best among those made with Italian construction. By 1871 Maltarello employed one 
hundred people and the production, not counting the parts furnished to other manufacturers, amounted to 150 per year, some 
exported to Dalmatia, Egypt, and Turkey. The Maltarello company is also credited as the first in Italy, along with Carlo 
Perotti (see below), to have used felt-covered HAMMERS (in this regard it should be remembered that Pasquale Arcuno of 
Naples was still manufacturing hammer covers of specially treated deer leather as late as 1859). The Maltarello firm ceased 
operations in 1938, with a total production of almost 13,000 instruments, some labeled with foreign names. 

Among the other early builders active in the Veneto region, Carlo Eberle (Trento, fl. mid-nineteenth century), and Antonio 
Martinelli (Caldonazzo, Trento, fl. 1832-1836, marque: "Fabbrica Fratelli Martinelli") should be mentioned. Originally from 
Trento were also the brothers Biagio (b. 1769/72-d. 1855) and Carlo (b. ca. 1764) Arnoldi, active in Rome. Carlo is the first 
builder to have been awarded a prize in an Italian exhibition (Rome, 1810). 

Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia 

During the first half of the nineteenth century there were only a few scattered artisans in this state. Among them were Carlo 
Panizza (Alessandria, fl. 1838), Domenico Gregori (Nizza, now the French Nice, fl. 1838- 1844), Luigi Alovisio (Turin, fl. 
1838-1844) and Francesco Weiss (Turin, but originally from Vienna, fl. 1838-1844). As late as 1850 Turin could only claim 
two small factories that produced SQUARE PIANOS at a level of semi-craftsmanship. 

Even though this city was the last to develop a piano industry, in the course of a mere twenty years it transformed itself into 
one of the major producers of Italian UPRIGHT PIANOS. This transformation was begun by Giacinto Aymonino (marques: 
"Aymonino"and "Stechinge"), who founded his own factory in 1850, bringing qualified technicians from Paris. In a short 


time Aymonino was making his own actions and in 1873 was able to produce about 150 pianos per year, some of those 
exported to Latin America. Aymonino's successor was Brossa and then Moise Levi, who still flourished in 1918. 

Also active in Turin was the firm of Giovanni Berra and successors (est. 1819 or 1850-fl. 1950; "Baer Berlin — I.C.B." 
[Ingegner Cesare Berra]), followed by those of Felice Chiappo (est. 1851-fl. 1939) and Carlo Roeseler (from Berlin, est. 1852- 
fl. 1918; "Roeseler, Berlin"). The last mentioned was particularly successful and by 1878 his seventy employees were 
producing at least 450-500 pianos per year. The factory of the three Marchisio Brothers was established in 1862. Two of them, 
Antonino (1817-1875) and Giuseppe Enrico (1831-1903), were also distinguished pianists (Antonino was considered the 
founder of the so-called scuola piemontese di pianoforte); furthermore, Giuseppe Enrico invented a frame reinforced with 
iron, which he called staticofone. The renowned firm of the Marchisio Brothers eventually employed over one hundred 
people, with an output of 250-300 pianos per year; in 1875 two of the brothers died, and all operations terminated. 

The year 1862 saw the birth of another Turin firm, that of Giuseppe Mola (still fl. 1939; "Mola"), which in 1900 (under his 
successor GBellis) was considered the largest builder in Italy of pianos and harmoniums, with an output of some 500-1,000 
instruments per year. Another Turin builder, Carlo Perotti (est. 1870fl. 1926; marques: "Perotti" and "P.Charles"), was known 
to have invented a machine for producing felt-covered hammers a few years after Maltarello had introduced them into Italy. 
Perotti's factory, founded around 1870 with forty to fifty workers, initially was producing only actions, and soon became an 
important hallmark for Italian builders. 

According to the estimates of the time, around 800 to 900 pianos per year were produced in Turin in 1880 and 1,600 in 
1898. This production filled the demands of the Piedmont market and also that of nearby Liguria. The best-known and 
perhaps the only active establishment in this region at the time was that founded by Giuseppe Francesco Pittaluga (1795— 
1865) in 1848 (Cornigliano Ligure, Genoa). Its output was meager, producing in toto only 550 pianos from the time of its 
founding until 1953, when it ceased its manufacturing operations. 

The "Unita d 'Italia" 

After the unification of Italy (1870), with the abolishment of local taxes and the rapid growth of the railway system, the 
quality of life greatly improved in Italy, especially for the middle class. This opened the possibility for the piano industry to 
assume national dimensions. Among the primary builders were Aymonino (Turin), Brizzi and Niccolai (Florence), Maltarello 
(Vicenza), Angelo Colombo, Rodolfo Grimm, and Francesco Sala (all of Milan) and, in Turin: Roeseler, Mola, Perotti, Berra, 
and Federico Colombo. 

Turin was a center of great activity around the turn of the century, with the houses of 

Francesco Allasia (fl. 1891-1900, also actions) 
Giuseppe Astesano (fl. 1907-1913, only actions) 
Baloire (fl. 1900s) 
Bertello (fl. 1900s) 
Giuseppe Bertolino (fl. 1882-1900) 
Luigi Blanchi and company (fl. 1897-1900) 
Giuseppe Boine (fl. 1897-1928) 

Giovanni Battista Cerutti and company (fl. 1900, only accessories) 

Luigi Caldera (fl. 1868-1888; also "Melo-piano" and HARP -PIANO: "Patent Calderarpa— Torino") 

Vittorio Collino and Company (fl. 1880-1937, also an organbuilder; "Kugel & C — Berlin") 

Federico Colombo (est. 1878-fl. 1934; 160 pianos per year in 1898, mainly exported to South America) 

Giuseppe Delmastro and Company (fl. ca. 1911- 1936) 

Carlo Deponti (est. 1860-fl. 1940; "vonBruche") 

Antonio Dotto (fl. 1907, maker of keyboards) 

Giovanni Fea e Figlio (est. 1880-fl. 1937, from ca. 1928 in Moncalieri, Turin; "Roslai" and "Romzer") 
Antonio Fea (est. 1900-fl. 1940; "F.E.Anton," "Kapman," "Liszt") 
Angelo Forneris and Brother (fl. 1910-1940; "Gebruder Bacher") 
Giuseppe Fusella (fl. 1884-1926) 

Giuseppe Govino e Figli (est. 1878-1932; "Schwander"; 100 pianos per year in 1898) 

Lodovico Monti and his nephew and successor Attilio Griggi Monti (fl. 1882-1926) 

Giovanni Migliano (est. 1869), Miglianoe 

Borello (from ca. 1910-fl. 1938; "Oscar Killard") 

Michele Miretti (fl. 1892-1937; "Muchard" and "Webster") 

Silvio Miretti (est. 1888-fl. 1938) 

Molinatto (fl. 1900s) 


B. and A.Olivotto (fl. 1909-1933; "Rosenthal," "Weiss" and "Harrison") 

Giovanni Piatino (est. 1910-ceased 1935; Steinbach from 1935 to present; "Piatino," "Stembach," "Steinbach," 
"HeiTmann," "Zeidler," "Breslau," and "Hofstein") 

Vittorio Felice Quartero (fl. 1909-1928; "Oskar Killar, Berlin") 

Vincenzo Restagno (est. 1908-closed ca. 1943, with a total output of about 500 pianos, mainly upright; "Restagno" 
and, with a transposing keyboard, "Trasposizionpiano") 
Giuseppe Rivoreda (fl. 1897-1900, actions) 
Rodolfo Savi and Company (est. 1905-fl. 1926) 
Giovanni Sola Vagione (fl. 1892-1934) 
Benedetto Vigone (b. 1844-d. 1918; fl. 1884- 1896) 

Enrico and Emilio Zaccagnini Brothers (est. 1912-fl. 1938; "Sidmayer," "Brokner," "Bekstain," and "Walter") 
Francesco Zucca (fl. 1897-1907, maker of keyboards) 

After Turin, Milan was the most active area, with 

Michele Cessata (fl. ca. 1870-1 900s) 
Giosue Daverio (fl. 1894-1924) 

Rodolfo Griffini and Company (successors of Romeo Gerosa and Co., fl. 1901-1937; "G. Rudolf) 
Rodolfo Grimm (fl. 1870-1881; in 1875: fifty workers, 300 uprights per year) 

Antonio Monzino (house est. 1767; in 1901-1937 it made pianos, strings and accessories, joining with Garlandini 
from 1928-1937) 

Oreste Orioli (fl. 1894-1910) 

Emilio Ratti (fl. 1881-1906) 

Ricordi e Finzi (fl. 1882-1950) 

Francesco Sala (fl. 1881-1907), followed by 

Ambrogio Sala (fl. 1914-1950) 

Angelo Norcini (fl. 1888-1902), followed by Giuseppe Norcini (fl. 1926, in Varese and Tradate) 
Tedeschi and Raffael (fl. 1898-1932; this firm was also the best Italian producer of harps) 
Giuseppe Turconi (fl. 1884-1885; also had a factory in Istanbul, Turkey) 
Antonio and Domenico Vigo (Vago) (fl. 1871- 1885) 

Centers near Milan: 


Luigi Bassolini (fl. 1889) 

Giuseppe Gorli e Figlio Vittorio (est. 1868-ceased 1934; "Gorli" and "Blutmann") 

Emilio Arosio e Figlio (fl. 1901-1937, also maker of plucked string instruments) 


Carlo Alettie Figli (fl. 1901-1906, also an organbuilder) 

Arrigoni(fl. 1865-1870) 


Ottina and Pellandi (est. 1884-fl. 1932, in 1933 Pietro Ottina only) 
Carlo Pombia (eighteen workers in 1 892) 

Pedro Pombia (ca. 1900-1929, "Optimus"; probably the successor of Carlo; his house was succeeded by the Oldani 
Bros (see below) 

Luigi Vosgien (fl. 1876-1892; twenty-two workers in 1892) 

Adamo Cavana (fl. 1888-1926) 
Treviglio (Bergamo) 

Francesco Pozzi and Brother (fl. 1882-1883) 

Giuseppe Giacchetti (fl. 1869-1900, in Cigliano; also "Pianoforte-organo") 

Anacleto Stangalini and successors (est. 1856-fl. 1928) 

Carlo Denis (fourteen workers in 1892, with automatic machinery) 


The city of Trieste — especially up to 1918, when still under Austrian administration — was also a distinguished production 

G.Bertoli and G.Cantone, successors of Giuseppe Dina (fl. 1882-1883) 
Enrico Bremitz (est. 1874-fl. 1931; by 1915, 3,000 pianos produced) 
A.Cafol (fl. 1875-1885; by 1885, 23,900 pianos produced) 
Giovanni Haichele (fl. first half of 19th century) 

F. L.Magrina e Figli (est. 1870-fl. 1931; by 1920, 3,400 pianos produced) 
Luigi Zannoni (fl. 1882-1937; in 1937: "Stabilimento Pianoforti Zannoni") 

A few other centers were also active: 


A.Trevisan (est. 1900-fl. 1929, in Castelfranco Veneto) 


Locatelli (fl. ca. 1880-1885) 

Antonio Mariacher (fl. 1884-1886) 

Brizzi and Niccolai (1875-ca. 1918), one of the most important Italian builders of the time 
Pennetti and Fattori (fl. 1882-193 1) followed by 
Augusto Pennetti (fl. 1937) 

Gustavo Volpi and Company (fl. 1888-1892), followed by Michelangelo Volpi (fl. 1912- 1926) 

G. and C.Ceccherini, successors of Ducci (fl. 1900-1933) 

Bernando Bellotti (est. 1868-fl. 1926) 
Federico Pastore (fl. 1888-1900) 
Giovanni Gillone (fl. 1881-1884, in Casale 

Monferrato; "pianoforte verticale portatile scomponibile in due parti") 

Giovanni Racca (fl. 1888-1932, also maker of the "Piano melodico" and the automatic pianos "Verdi" and "Falstaff ) 

Martinelli (fl. 19th century) 

Celso and Gaetano Stanguellini (fl. 1886-1937, also makers of percussion instruments) 


Paolo Alessandroni, builder of grand piano prize-winners at the 1873 Vienna exhibition and one of the first in Italy to 
introduce the double escapement action (fl. 1855-1883) 
Giovanni De Santis (fl. 1882-1894) 

As seen above, the Neapolitan piano industry was in a phase of extinction, even though the old De Meglio house was still 
producing quality GRAND PIANOS. However, these last instruments were steadily losing ground to the more popular 
uprights (the so-called pianini); almost every Italian manufacturer, especially in Piedmont, was busy copying those of Bord, 
Elke, and Pleyel. Even though there were many Italian manufacturers of actions (Maltarello, Perotti, Berra, Mola), a builder 
of component parts was still lacking in Italy in 1883 (i.e., strings, pins, felt, keys, etc.). To stimulate growth in this regard a 
heavy tax was levied on the importation of such parts, a tax four times as much as it cost to import a piano already assembled. 

After 1870 France and Austria gave way to the new and powerful German piano industry. Of the total number of pianos 
imported into Italy in 1875, 750 were from France, 493 from Austria, and only 35 from Germany. Conversely, by 1910 the 
total number of imports indicated only 162 from France and 3,877 from Germany, with 292 from Austria. 

The significant difference between the German and Italian piano industries was that the Italian industry could not raise its 
standard of quality, nor did its members enter the international market in any major way. Up to 1970, Italy's exportation 
amounted to no more than a few hundred pianos per year. These two factors made even stronger the tendency of the Italian 
manufacturers to sign their products with anonymous German or exotic marques — sometimes hinting at the name of a 
builder, like the "F.E.Anton" produced by Antonio Fea, the "Menial" by Mario Merula, the "Faber" by Arturo Fabio, the 
"G. Rudolf by Rodolfo Griffini, and the "P.Charles" by Carlo Perotti — which proved detrimental to their credibility and 
inevitably to the quality of their product. 

After World War I 

The twentieth century was characterized mostly by the production of modest studio instruments, a period in which the Anelli 
house distinguished itself for the superior quality of its uprights. Even though this firm had been founded in 1836 by Antonio 
Anelli (1795- 1883), it became successful only in 1896, the year in which Pietro Anelli (1863-1939), son of Gualtiero (1841- 
1880), chose Cremona as a permanent location. Among his patents was one that met with particular success: that of 1912 
which allowed the regulation of the amount of KEYBOARD resistance. This innovation was given the approval of the 
Konigliche Hochschule fur Musik of Berlin, then the largest German music conservatory. In 1918 the Anelli Factory in 
Cremona was able to produce five pianos per day and in 1923 they had three hundred employees. By 1961 the instruments 
signed with the marque 'Anelli" amounted to a total of twenty-one thousand (to which many others bearing other marques 
should be added). 

A still larger factory, the Fabbrica Italiana Piano-forti (F.I. P.), was founded in Turin in 1917 in order to consolidate all the 
small companies of that city. Very soon its eight hundred workers were able to produce three thousand pianos per year. The 
F.I. P. also edited the well-known magazine // pianoforte and organized seasons of piano recitals. Unfortunately, the factory lost 
its sponsors and had to close toward 1928-1929; in Turin this gave rise to a great number of small workshops, accentuating 
the production of low-quality "commercial pianos." As for grands, a very reliable company, that of the Germans Schulze and 
Pollmann, was founded in 1928 in Bolzano (and managed by Paul Pollmann, who in 1940-1942 returned to Germany, leaving 
the factory to his Italian successors). 

Around 1930 the Italian output of pianos amounted to some six thousand per year, produced by a total of more than one 
hundred manufacturers, half of them operating in the Turin area. It should be noted that a few of the smaller firms cited below 
were simply applying their own marque to imported or assembled instruments, a practice starting at this period but still 
widespread at present. 

Known piano houses in the city of Turin include: 

Autopiani Pianoforti Italia (A.P.I.), which also makes traditional pianos (fl. 1928-1932; marque: "Kerscken, Berlin") 
Luigi Arduino (fl. 1937-1940; "Euphonos") 
Arosio (fl. 1920-ca. 1940; "Kelinod") 
Baldi (fl. 1920-ca. 1940; "Forstner") 
Barra and Collino (fl. 1928; "Hugel & C") 
Bassino (fl. 1920-ca. 1940; "Kleiner") 
Luigi Berutti (fl. 1926-1932) 
Mario Biancotto (fl. 1936-1939; "Weisschen") 
Domenico Bigatti (fl. 1928-1934; "Kirkmayer" and "Wulner") 
Boine and Collino 

Calipso and Conti (est. 1926-fl. 1940; "Schumacher") 

Costruttori Artigiani Pianoforti Harmoniums e Strumenti Affini (C.A.P.H.S.) (fl. 1934-1938) 

Capitani and Toffarello (fl. 1928; "A. Hauptmann") 

Comba(fl. 1928; "Jos. Stalberger") 

Ernesto Comoglio (est. 1923-fl. 1940; "Stipman") 

Conti (fl. 1920-ca. 1940) 

Bartolomeo Costa e Figli (fl. 1926-1937; "Meyer" and "Kuster Leipzig") 

Antonio Cuconato (b. 1909, fl. 1933 to present; "Furstenbach," "Schonclang," and "Zenway") 

Delia Rovere and Macario (fl. 1928; "Bruckner," "Steibuchler," and "Steinert") 

Pio Fungi (fl. 1933-1936, maker of keyboards) 

Galla (Galia) and company (est. 1918-fl. 1937; thirty employees in 1936) 
Carlo Guerra (est. 1928-fl. 1947; "Krieg") 
Giuseppe Guidazio (fl. 1928-1939, only accessories) 

Industria Nazionale Autopiani e Pianoforti (I.N.A.P.) (owned by Giuseppe Cavana, est. 1920-fl. 1950) 

Lacchio Brothers (fl. 1910-1939; "Care -Schumann, Berlin") 

Lavorazione Italiana Pianoforti Torino (L.I.P.T.) (est. 1920-fl. 1932) 

Mazza and Perrone (est. by Pietro Mazza; fl. 1928-1940; "Rudinbach & Sohn" and "Hoff ) 

Mario Merula (est. 1922-fl. 1950; "Rosenthal" and "Menial") 

LinoMiolis (fl. 1926-1937) 

Pollmann and Weiss (est. by Paul Pollmann and Carlo Weiss in 1925-fl. 1932) 

Francesco Rivoreda and his nephew (est. 1900- 1940, from ca. 1930 in Moncalieri; "Rothenbach" and "Enfois") 
Rivoreda and Arduino (fl. 1933-1934) 


Societa Anonima Lavorazione Legnami Affini (S.A.L.LA.) (fl. 1937) 

Societa Anonima Meccanica Istrumenti Musicali Affini (SA.M.I.MA) (est. 1935-fl. 1951, only actions) 

Savio and Chiotti (fl. 1928-1934; "Steinmiiller") 

Giovanni Tosco (fl. 1923-1932) 

Vincenzo Vassallo (fl. 1926-1932) 

Franz Weiss (fl. 1930s; "Franz Weiss di Vienna, Torino") 

In the Turin area: 

Moncalieri (near Turin) 

Achille Fea (fl. 1928; "Falkenstein Berlin," "Roslau," and "Ronner") 
Grilli, Pochettino and Salza (est. 1924-fl. 1938, also accessories) 
Sebastiano Cugnone (fl. 1926-1937; "S.C. Schubert") 
Giuseppe Scarampi (fl. 1926-1928) 

Fabbrica Pianoforti (fl. 1928-1931) 
In the Milan area: 

Angelo Avanti (fl. 1932-1950; marque: "Hertinger") 
Giovanni Cervo and Company (fl. 1923-1937; "Kirtsch") 
Gorlini (fl. ca. 1920-1940; "Richer") 

Lombardi and Bonetti (fl. 1928-1929, makers of piano strings) 
E. and C.Raffael (fl. 1928-1937, also maker of harps) 

Colombo and Company (est. 1903-fl. 1932) 

Zari Brothers, initially established in 1869 as a wooden floor factory (fl. 1922-1950; "Homer" and "Muller"); one of 
the largest piano factories in the country 


Industria Lombarda (fl. 1928-1937) 

Antognazza (fl. 1930s; "Mullnir") 
Seveso S.Pietro 

A.Radice e Figli (fl. 1928-1940, also maker of brass instruments) 
Como area: 

Societa Anonima Fili e Cavi Acciaio (fl. 1928- 1937, maker of piano strings) 

PieroBarozzi (fl. 1928-1937) 
In Novara: 

Oldani Brothers ("Pombia Succ. Oldani, Ravarino e Bellossi," fl. 1928-1940); the Oldani brothers made the "Optimus 
Succ. Pombia" while establishing a facility under their own name (fl. 1928-1963), making the "Oldani" and 

Genestrone Brothers (fl. 1923-1940) 

Giacomo Olivieri and Company (fl. 1928-1937, also makers of wind instruments) 
Borgatta (fl. 1932; "Burgfels") 

Faccenda and Violini (fl. 1926-1933; "C.H.O.P.I.N." [Costruzio ne Harmon Organi Pianoforti in Novara]) 

P.Pomella (fl. 1928-1932) 

Cigna Brothers (fl. 1928-1937, in Biella) 

In other cities of Italy: 

Bagnasco (Cuneo) 

Zuccotti and Garzoro (fl. 1926) 

Rovinazzi (fl. 1928-1929) 

Fidel (Fedele) Socin (est. 1871-fl. 1940; in 1871 only harmoniums) 
Borgo S.Martino (Alessandria) 

Francesco Morandi (fl. ca. 1926-1934; "Franz Mundstein") 


Francesco Puglisi (fl. 1926-1932) 

Maurri (fl. 1928-1937) 

Pupo Pupeschi e Figlio (fl. 1928-1937, also maker of wind instruments) 


Severi (fl. ca. 1920; "Lehmann") 
Low Ciufenna (Arezzo) 
Onofrio Bruschi (fl. 1928-1937) 

Nicola Di Puccio (fl. 1926-1937) 

Luigi Alfonsi (est. ca. 1930 to present; "Alfonsi," and "Karl Gescher"; from 1948 only "Alfonsi") 

Arturo Fabio (fl. 1923-1925; "Faber") 
Sestri Ponente (Genoa) 

Casa Musicale Ligure, directed by Muzzati (fl. 1928-1937, also maker of keyboards) 
Struppu (Genoa) 

Guglielmo Cavalli (fl. 1926-1937) 

Miniussi and Kidrich (fl. 1928-1937), 

Carmelo Olivo (Olivo Carmelo) (est. 1919-fl. 1926) 

Antonio Pecar (fl. 1929-1936; "Pecar" and "Antonio Pecar") 

Societa Operaia Triestina (fl. 1923-1932) 


Guido Condutti (fl. 1928-1937, also maker of percussion and wind instruments) 


Giuseppe Lievore (fl. 1920-1932) 

Romolo Brusegan, at present "Brusegan 

Pianoforti" (est. 1919 to present in Campoverardo; "R.Brudenstein" and "Bruder & Sohn") 
E.Sanzin and Company (fl. 1923-1939; "E. Scharzerg" and "Scheller") 

The industry was affected adversely, as were other national piano industries, by the economic crisis due to the depression of 
the early 1930s and by the increasing popularity of the radio in homes. In addition, Italian piano manufacturers had been 
supplying the market with inferior products, using exotic names, a practice that had already caused a formal protest on the 
part of the association of German piano builders in 1924. Finally, in June 1933, a new law was put into effect by the Fascist 
government, solicited by Pietro Anelli, that compelled builders to sign every single instrument with the mark of the 
manufacturer and the city in which it was made, so, for example, marques like "Baer Berlin — I.C.B." had to be changed to 
"Ing. C.Berra — Torino." 

After World War II 

This period was characterized by a progressive growth in imports. Among the suppliers were not only a recovered West Germany 
but also — up to the 1990s — some European countries behind the Iron Curtain, particularly East Germany and 
Czechoslovakia. Around 1962 Japan entered the field, followed some fifteen years later by South Korea, whose place was 


taken over, in 1993-1994, by China — three nations that together appropriated to themselves a large portion of the Italian 
market (from 0.3 percent in 1962 up to 55.1 percent in 1997). In this same year, 1997, Japan alone accounted for some 38 
percent of Italian imports of grand pianos, a market traditionally dominated by Germany. In regard to Italian production, 
exportation (even though very modest) steadily increased up to 1992, a year in which it reached the historic number of almost 
thirty-two hundred instruments, mainly sent to France, Spain, and Germany. The commercial output in the last decades of the 
twentieth century can largely be attributed to the following factories: 

Farfisa (Ancona), an accordion factory which, from 1960 up to December 1998 when it ceased production, also made 
pianos (3,600 uprights in 1978; marques "Anelli," "Furstein-Farfisa," "Furstein," "Hubschen," and "Hermann") 

Generalmusic (est. 1983 in Saludecio, near Forli; 3,000 pianos per year in 1985, "Bachmann") 

Clement (est. 1937 by Bozzetta in Bolzano, ceased 1991; around 1983-1987 their twenty-five employees were 
producing 600 instruments per year; "Clement") 

Schulze Pollmann (est. 1928, in Pineta di Laives, Bolzano) 

Steinbach (est. 1935 in Turin by Piatino; 200 per year in 1991; "Steinbach") 

Minor manufacturers: 

Polverini Company (in Portorecanati) Macerata (fl. 1910-1991; "Offenbach-Blutmayer," and "Steimach") 
Lucio Maurutto (in Turin, fl. 1989, now ceased; "Steinert") 
Egidio Galvan (in Borgovalsugana, Trento, est. 1935; "Galvan") 
Romeo Tolin (in Fosso, Venice, fl. 1990) 
Luciano Nazzari (in Cremona, fl. 1982-1990) 

About 1992 a marked decline in the production and exportation of uprights began, a matter of concern to all major 
international piano firms. As of 2000 Italian production is mainly restricted to the above-mentioned Schulze Pollmann (from 
June 1998 in Fermignano, Pesaro, owned by Generalmusic, now producing about 1,500-2,000 pianos per year, including 
grands). In addition, since 1991 the Enrico Ciresa Societa a Responsabilita Limitata (equivalent to "Co. Ltd.") (established in 
Tesero, Trento, in 1952) has supplied soundboards of the celebrated Val di Fiemme's spruce (the "abete rosso" once used by 
Antonio Stradivari) to some of the most internationally renowned builders. Enrico Ciresa had previously worked in the firm 
Delmarco and Bozzetta, which in 1946-1947 made pianos in Tesero (trade mark "Delmarco & Bozzetta"). 

As for concert grand pianos, Cesare Augusto Tallone began his activity as a builder about 1940 and, after twenty years of 
experimentation, succeeded in producing his pianoforte dal suono italiano, presented at the Milan Conservatory in 1967. 
Tallone (who was also the personal tuner of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli) at his death in 1981 left in toto no more than 
three hundred instruments of all kinds, each of them a prototype. 

Luigi Borgato, who established his firm in Bagnolo di Lonigo, Vicenza in 1990, builds concert grand pianos — only a few 
instruments per year — which have provisions for a pedal board with a three-octave compass. In addition a particular place 
must be reserved for PAOLO FAZIOLI, a Roman engineer and pianist who in 1981 founded a now internationally known firm 
specifically for grand pianos. In more than one-and-one-half centuries of activity it seems that the Italian piano industry has 
finally been able to produce a concert instrument with its own individual personality and worldwide marketability. 

See also Fazioli, Paolo 

Translated by Anna Palmieri 


Atti del R Istituto d'Incoraggiamen to alle scienze...di Napoli. Reports by Luigi Palmieri in the 3d series, 5 (1885) and 6 (1887). 
Clinkscale, Martha Novak. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820- 1860. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999. 

Colturato, Annarita. "L'industria dei pianoforti a Torino nell' Ottocento." In Miscellanea di studi, Torino: Centra Studi Piemontesi) 3 
(1991): 43-61. 

La Casa Musicale G.Ceccherini & Co. successori Ducci 1831- 1981. Firenze: Giuntina, 1981. 

De Rensis, Raffaello. Cento anni di casa Anelli. Organi e piano-forti 1836-1936. Cremona: Cremona Nuova, 1936. 

Gazzetta Musicale di Milano (Ricordi, 1842-1902). 

Gazzetta Musicale di Napoli (1 852-1 854). 

Maione, Paologiovanni and Francesca Seller. "Prime ricognizioni archivistiche sui construttori di pianoforti a Napoli nell' Ottocento." In 

Liuteria Musica e Cultura 1997, 21-41 (1998). 
Nunneri. Luigi. Relazione stilla ivmli:ioiw <MUi clause opiraia pUmqt'oitism. Napoli: Lubrano, 18X7. 


Piano Time (Rome, 1983-1991). 

Ponsicchi, Cesare. // pianoforte, sua origine e sviluppo.... Firenze: Guidi, 1876. 
Sievers, Giacomo Fcrdinando. II pianoforte.... Napoli: Ohio, 1868. 
Statistica del Commercio con Vestero (Italian State yearly publication, 1851-1997). 
Strumenti e musica (Ancona, 1967-1991). 

Tiella, Marco. "Giacomo Ferdinando Sievers (1810-1878) construttore di pianoforti a Napoli." In Liuteria Musica e Cultura 1999-2000, 
43-53 (2001). 

The ivories are the white KEYS of the piano (also called naturals), which were once made of wood covered with three thin 
strips of elephant ivory. Because of strict laws enacted to protect the world's elephants, piano manufacturers now substitute a 
white glossy plastic, or ivorine, for the natural ivory. 

Early pianos, especially those made in Germany, sometimes had EBONY-covered natural keys and ivory-capped 
accidentals. Other builders used brown-stained boxwood for the natural keys. By the middle of the nineteenth century, piano 
makers PATENTED cheap substitutes for ivory key covers. These included mother-of-pearl, white oxen-bone, enamel, 
porcelain, and glass. 

See also Ebonies 




The jack (sometimes called the "ESCAPEMENT" or "hopper") is the part of the piano ACTION that, when lifted by the 
KEY, propels the HAMMER to the STRING. The jack, as originally designed by CRISTOFORI, allowed the hammer to 
rebound from the string immediately after striking it regardless of how quickly the pianist released the key. The principle of 
the jack remains unchanged today. 



The janissary stop was found briefly in the early nineteenth century on European pianos, especially GIRAFFES; the stop, 
operated by a PEDAL, rang a bell and caused a mallet to strike the SOUNDBOARD. The purpose was to imitate the jingling 
and drum sounds in "Janissary" (Turkish) military bands, enormously popular in the late eighteenth century. 

See also Pedals and Stops 


JANKO, PAUL VON (1856-1919) 

Paul von Janko was a Hungarian engineer and inventor; his place in this encyclopedia is assured by his invention of a 
radically redesigned KEYBOARD. 

A student of engineering and music in Vienna (piano with Hans Schmitt, composition with Anton Bruckner) and of 
mathematics (with Hermann von Helmholtz) and piano in Berlin (with Heinrich Ehr lich), Janko was also interested in 
TEMPERAMENT. He wrote an important article on temperaments of more than twelve tones, showing the possibilities of 
pure TUNINGS with scales of 41, 53, 347, 400, 506, 559, and 612 tones (see Bibliography). From 1892 he was employed in 
Constantinople in the Turkish government tobacco bureau, becoming section chief in 1904. 

He also had time to pursue pianism. His keyboard was invented in 1882 and apparently evoked some interest from the 
always gracious FRANZ LISZT. Janko explained the invention in a pamphlet in 1886 and exhibited it during his own concert 
tours; the first piano maker to produce exemplars was Kurka in Vienna. In about 1891 the New York firm of 
DECKER BROTHERS began to put the keyboard into some of its UPRIGHTS (most surviving Jankos are in Decker pianos), 
and Emil K. Winkler opened the Paul de Janko Conservatory on East Seventeenth Street, New York City, having written 
articles about the keyboard in the Musical Courier in that year. ALFRED DOLGE was enthusiastic about Janko 's invention in 
his book; a Janko-Verein was organized in Vienna in 1905, and instruction in the keyboard was introduced in 1906 in the 
Scharwenka Conservatory in Berlin. A few pianists joined the Janko ranks: Willy Rehberg, Karl Wendling, and some others. 

The purpose of the keyboard was threefold: (1) to simplify FINGERING; (2) to extend the pianist's reach; (3) to fit the 
hand more comfortably. Janko followed the lead — knowingly or not — of William A.B.Lunn (Arthur Wallbridge), who in 
1843 devised a "sequential keyboard" with two parallel rows of KEYS, each in whole tones. Janko's system involved the 
same:a lower row with whole tones from C, an upper row from C # , the keys of the two rows being staggered. He added two more 
touch pieces to each key, arranging them on risers like bleachers, so that the keyboard looks like six banked rows of keys. The 
player can use any of the three touch pieces to sound the note. 

All major scales have the same FINGERING, as do all minor ones. The same intervals in any key have exactly the same 
pattern of reach. The octave spans six key-widths instead of the usual seven, and anyone who can easily reach an octave on a 
standard keyboard can easily reach a tenth on the Janko. The alternative-touch pieces allow fingers, with their inconveniently 
differing lengths, to fit the keys more comfortably. Large arpeggios are easily managed, and thick, widely spaced chords can 
readily be encompassed. 

The failure of Janko's invention is inexplicable to those who suppose that civilization and technology operate on the basis 
of reason. It was a very intelligent, rational solution to the problems of the ordinary keyboard, but like most Utopian solutions, 
it ignored human factors, including musical ones. It failed, in part, merely because it was different. Every pianist would have 
had to completely relearn playing TECHNIQUE, and every piano would have had to be rebuilt or scrapped. Even Paul 


Perzina's reversible keyboard, made in Schwerin, Germany (1910), with which one could flip back and forth between 
conventional and Janko keyboards, did not ease acceptance. The TOUCH was very stiff from the outset, and efforts of such 
fine makers as BLUTHNER to lighten it did not provide sufficient relief. A very light but tough plastic key material might 
now serve better. Perhaps most important, with the Janko some pianistic moves that were difficult on the conventional 
keyboard were made easy. Part of the musical texture of difficult piano music lies in surmounting those difficulties, exhibiting 
virtuoso daring. Removing the tension of that heroism alters the musical quality of a work. 

It is reported that some experiments with modified Janko keyboards in SYNTHESIZERS are taking place, but details 
remain obscure. 

See also Keyboards 



Ehrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. 2d ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990. 

Good, Edwin M. Giraffes, Black Dragons, and Other Pianos. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1982; 2d ed. Stanford, Calif.: 

Stanford University Press, 200 1 . 
Janko, Paul von. Eine neue Klaviatur (A New Keyboard). Vienna, 1886. 

."Tiber mehr als 12-stufige gleichschwebende Temperaturen" (On Equal Temperaments w ith More Than 12 Tones). Beitrdge zur 

Akustik und llii.s i (1901 I 

Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954. 

The history of the piano industry in Japan is a documentation of traditional values at work. Perseverance, intensive labor, 
and a keen eye for opportunity have catapulted the business in less than one century from a simple cottage industry, producing 
imitations of German and American models, to the world's largest manufacturer. The early, rapid progress of all companies 
involved in building Japan's enormous industry is remarkable, especially considering its development after approximately 250 
years of isolation from the West. At a time when Western music heard in Japan consisted of Christian hymns and military 
marches, Torakichi Nishikawa, Torakusu YAMAHA (1851-1916), and other intrepid pioneers manufactured and sold organs 
and pianos in an undeveloped, and largely ignored market. Over the course of a century, more than 250 companies were 
registered with the government as independent piano builders, with less than 15 actively conducting business today. 

Although the Meiji government officially opened its doors to the West in 1 868, Western music existed in Japan from the early 
1800s. Few records concerning early piano imports remain today. Generally, it is believed that Europeans and Americans who 
moved to Japan during the latter half of the nineteenth century brought their pianos with them. A German-made 
SQUARE PIANO was the first piano imported to Japan in 1823; a square piano was shown at the Paris Exhibition in Tokyo 
in 1878; and Luther Whiting Mason (1828- 1896), who helped Shuji Izawa (1851-1917) establish the first school of Western 
music in Japan, imported ten KNABE square pianos from Boston in 1880 for classroom use. 

Torakichi Nishikawa, Takuro Fukushima (1886- 1957), Yoshimi Ono, and several other instrument builders apprenticed 
with Europeans but lacked the craftsmanship and materials to create their own pianos and organs until the latter 1 800s. Five 
years after the Tokyo Music School welcomed its first class of twenty-two students, Torakichi Nishikawa built the first 
domestic organ in 1885 at the Nishikawa Piano and Organ Manufacturing Company in Yokohama under the tutelage of the 
German technician J.G.Doering. Two years later, Nishikawa began to build UPRIGHT PIANOS. Torakusu Yamaha, founder 
of Nippon Gakki/ Yamaha Corporation, built his first reed organ in 1887, his first upright piano in 1900, and his first 
GRAND PIANO in 1902. By 1904, when Yamaha's reed organs and pianos won an Honorary Grand Prize at the Saint Louis 
World Exposition, the company was expanding rapidly with orders from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of 
Agriculture and Commerce, and the Imperial Household Agency. 

Western music was still relatively unknown to anyone but the Meiji government bureaucrats, who supported it as a means 
for studying Western culture, and the wealthy bourgeoisie, who considered it an enjoyable novelty. It did not begin to reach 
the general populace until 1900, whenRentaro Taki (1879-1903) wrote Futatsu no piano shohin (Two Short Works for Piano), 
the first piano composition by a Japanese. Music journalism fostered an interest in Western-style music with the publication 
of Ongaku no tomo (Friends of Music) in 1901. Phonograph records were imported in 1897, and in 1909 they were 
manufactured domestically and distributed in Kawasaki. Yamaha's prize -winning pianos and organs were displayed at public 
EXHIBITIONS of industrial goods, and gradually in the early part of the twentieth century, the public was beginning to accept 
Western music as its own. 

A classic story of the struggle to introduce new products against all odds is that of Torakusu Yamaha, the founder and first 
president of Nippon Gakki Company /Yamaha Corporation. A shift from feudalism to modernism forced men like Yamaha, a 
member of the warrior class, to reconsider his career as a samurai. In an age that demanded new ideas and massive 
restructuring, Yamaha apprenticed with an expert British watchmaker in Nagasaki at age twenty. Fueled with hope but with 


very little money, he had planned to found his own watch-making company after several years of study, but shifted his focus 
to medical-equipment repair and moved to Osaka to seek new opportunities. In 1884 he was sent to Hamamatsu where he 
repaired foreign-made surgical equipment at the Hamamatsu Hospital. 

Hamamatsu in the Meiji Era (1868-1912) was provincial compared to the more cosmopolitan, commercial centers of 
Tokyo, Osaka, or Nagasaki. Railway systems, machinery, and electrical equipment in the rural town of seventeen thousand 
people were nearly nonexistent, man-drawn rickshaws were the primary means of transport, and few residents had any 
knowledge of the West. In 1887, when a MASON & HAMLIN reed organ needed repair, Yamaha was summoned to rebuild 
the elementary school's expensive treasure. Sixty-three days later when Yamaha and his assistant, Kisaburo Kawai (1857- 
1916), were finished, Yamaha had gathered enough te chnical information to build his first organ from such incongruous 
materials as cow bones, shamisen plectrums, and black weather-stripping paper. 

Word of Yamaha's bold experiment reached Shuji Izawa, Japan's first Western-music educator and president of Tokyo 
Music School, who invited him to study the fundamentals of Western music in a one-month intensive course at the school. 
When Yamaha returned to Hamamatsu in 1889 in the midst of an economic depression, he founded Yamaha Organ 
Manufacturing Company, with one hundred employees and thirty thousand yen capital. Railway service was extended to 
Hamamatsu the same year, transforming it into a new commercial center, and the company profited from the region's rapid 
growth. In 1889 the factory produced 250 organs, and 78 Yamaha reed organs were exported in 1892. In September and 
October 1897, Yamaha invested an additional one hundred thousand yen to incorporate under the name Nippon Gakki 
Company, and became the company's first president. By 1907 seven years after Yamaha built his first piano, 170 pianos were 
manufactured at the factory. Production had increased threefold by 1911, with a total of 501 pianos constructed, and in 1933, 
Nippon Gakki was controlling approximately 85 percent of the industry's total market share. 

Several entrepreneurs were quick to recognize the opportunities in instrument building as Japanese interest in Western 
music grew. Prior to World War II, Nishikawa Piano and Organ Company (est. 1885), Matsumoto Musical Instrument 
Company (est. 1892), Ono-Horugel Piano Company (est. 1933), Otsuka Piano Company, Mitsuba Musical Instrument 
Company (presently Toyo Piano Company/Apollo Pianos, est. 1934; Toyo founded in 1948), Tokyo Instrumental Laboratory 
(Fukushima Pianos, est. 1918), Hirota Piano Company (Wagner Pianos, est. 1923), Schwester Piano Company (est. 1929), 
and KAWAI Instrument Manufacturing Company (est. 1927) were competing successfully with Nippon Gakki. Nishikawa, 
active from 1885 to 1916, constructed custom-made pianos and stencils according to their customers' specifications. Shinkichi 
Matsumoto, Japan's first piano technician and president of Matsumoto Musical Instrument Company, founded in 1892, 
produced a small quantity of excellent pianos and organs. Fluent in English and Dutch and trained in Europe and the United 
States, he passed his skills on to his heirs who branched out to form three separate companies: S. Matsumoto (Shinkichi), 
H. Matsumoto (Shinkichi's son Hiroshi), and Matsumoto and Sons (wife of Shinkichi's sixth son). Employees of Fukushima, 
Hirota, Triflich, Ruben-stein, S.G.Lea, S.Chew, Moutrie, Buchholz, and Schwester Pianos worked in their homes on straw 
mats to produce exclusive, custom-made pianos with specifications based on German and American brands. 

Smaller Japanese companies made good pianos equal or superior in quality to Nippon Gakki, but only a few could compete 
with Nippon Gakki 's prices, marketing system, and distribution. Schwester and Matsumoto relied on a complex distribution 
system using expert piano technicians to recommend their products to wealthy buyers, but their size and stature restricted 
their business to the metropolitan Tokyo area. 

Regardless of their efforts, a piano was an extravagant purchase for the average Japanese family until the mid-1950s. The 
least expensive Yamaha upright built before World War II cost ¥500 , a Nishika wa upri model was ¥650, and a custom-made 
upright by Fukushima Pianos was ¥800. A domestic grand piano was ¥1,000, roughly equivalent to the price of a single- 
family house. Tuning, at ¥5, was more than six times the daily wages of a skilled carpenter. 

When Koichi Kawai (1885-1955) established the Kawai Instrument Laboratory in 1927, Kawai pianos became Yamaha's 
primary competitor. Famous for his clever inventions and for mastering intricate details, Kawai was employed at Nippon 
Gakki from age eleven, invented the company's piano ACTION at age fourteen, and was the company's manager of piano 
construction for twenty years. Under the patronage of the president, Chiyomaru Amano (1865-1936), Kawai was sent in 1921 
on a study tour of piano factories in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy, where he gathered 
information on the various techniques of piano construction. During a massive strike at Nippon Gakki in 1926, which 
paralyzed the company for several months, Kawai suddenly resigned to establish his own company. At age forty-two, Kawai 
with six employees began to assemble piano parts on straw mats at his small factory. Their first piano was a SPINET model with 
sixty-one KEYS. With its compact size and affordable price of ¥350, it was extremely popular with middle-class families. In 
1928 grand pianos were manufactured, and by 1935 Kawai Instrument Manufacturing Company was producing seventy-five 
uprights and ten grand pianos per month. 

As Japan's militarism escalated from the mid-1930s, materials became scarce, and factories, both large and small, suffered. 
From 1937 Kawai began to manufacture helmets, gliders and other military items until 1940, when his company became the 
subsidiary of Nakajima Airplane Factory. From 1940 to 1944, the factory supplied airplanes and tanks for the military. At 
Nippon Gakki's peak in production and quality in 1937, company president Kaichi Kawakami (1885- 1964) restructured his 


factory for the production of airplane propellers and tanks. Trying to protect his primary business interests to the end, 
Kawakami bargained with the Japanese government to continue building a small number of pianos if the factory fdled its 
military quota. They continued to manufacture pianos until 1944 when all production of musical instruments was prohibited 
by government decree. Smaller builders barely survived by manufacturing torpedo shells and kitchen utensils. At the end of 
the war, factories and almost all the instruments in them had been destroyed or used as parts for military hardware. Not a 
single upright piano was left in the Nippon Gakki and Kawai factories. 

Wartime damage was extensive, and all companies faced enormous difficulties as they restructured the industry. 
Tremendous costs and problems with obtaining the proper materials forced many smaller companies out of business, and the 
large number of piano manufacturers in the prewar years dwindled to a few dozen in the postwar. Unable to assemble the 
more complicated instruments, Nippon Gakki made harmonicas and xylophones for export to the United States in October 
1945. In January 1946 they produced organs, and pianos followed in April 1947. Kawai Instrument Manufacturing Company 
resumed organ and piano production in 1948. 

New strategies for industrial development were necessary in the postwar years. Nippon Gakki and Kawai placed a high 
priority on innovations in piano production, qualitative improvement of products, research and development, and the 
promotion of music activities through music schools and festivals. Koichi Kawai forged ahead with new inventions, and by 
1955 his company had amassed twenty-seven PATENTS. From 1952 to 1961 Kawai's profits increased 176 times, and in 
1973 the factory was producing 5,000 pianos per month, rivaling Nippon Gakki in quantity and quality. Automated kiln 
drying-rooms that assured quality control and reduced the processing time were instituted in 1956 at Nippon Gakki 's Tenryu 
Plant, and conveyor belt systems were adopted for quality control. Piano production, barely in the 24,000-unit range in 1960, 
was boosted to the 100,000-unit level by 1966. 

Small and medium-sized companies tried to compete with Yamaha and Kawai, and entered the domestic market by offering 
optimal service and pianos made to order for the growing number of middle-class Japanese consumers. Shinichi Matsuo, the 
founder of Eastein, was a former military officer who vowed to atone for his war activities and bring culture to postwar Japan 
by making the Steinway of the East. Engineers and expert technicians worked diligently from 1964 until 1990 to construct 
high quality pianos with superior action and sound but, in the end, failed to make a significant impact on the domestic market 
due to mismanagement, a poor distribution system, and the Japanese preference for brand names. Other companies with less 
capital and prestige established their reputations on excellent products tailored to the domestic market. The Nichibei Musical 
Instrument Manufacturing Company (presently Atlas Piano Company), founded in 1955 by Tadashiro Yorikane (b. 1926), 
developed a new type of light, automatic piano action in conjunction with Brother Corporation, famous for sewing machines, 
typewriters, and computer printers. Toyo Piano Company (established in 1934 as Mitsuba Musical Instrument Manufacturing 
Company), manufacturer of Apollo Pianos, resumed production in 1948 and patented a special DAMPER PEDAL for practice 
in Japan's cramped living spaces. Their custom-designed pianos can be built from paulownia wood and Lucite. Tokai Piano 
Company, founded in 1947 by former Kawai employees, distributed their small spinets and BABY GRAND PIANOS from 
1978 through joint ventures with U.S. and European firms. Schwester Pianos, established in 1929, built a small number of 
exclusive, high-quality pianos for connoisseurs that were modeled after the BOSENDORFER and STEINWAY D-type 

Consumers dictated important changes in piano design and, by the early 1970s, began to demand new types of pianos that 
would conform to their changing lifestyles. The size and dynamic sound of acoustic pianos were poorly suited for the 
cramped living spaces of urban apartment complexes, and noise pollution became a major problem. Ikuma Dan, a composer 
and critic, compared playing piano in a small, Japanese apartment to sumo wrestling on a bus, while others stated that a piano 
should be considered a dangerous weapon. Complaints reached a peak in 1974 when an irate neighbor murdered a woman and 
her daughter who practiced piano early in the morning in their apartment complex. Many consumers sympathized with the 
murderer, and piano manufacturers reacted quickly to feature soundproofing and dampers to reduce noise in tight quarters. 
From the mid-1970s, the Japanese piano took on unique, cultural traits that became popular with the middle class, who 
regarded a piano and automobile essential in their quest for a "civilized life." It also alerted the general public to societal 
problems such as privacy, noise pollution and problems of urban over-crowdedness. 

Regardless of the efforts of smaller companies to compete with the giants, Yamaha and Kawai continued to lead the 
Japanese piano industry and showed significant gains in the international market until the 1980s. In 1967 the Yamaha Concert 
grand "CF" was officially introduced to the European market; 40 percent of the total of grand pianos sold in 1968 in the 
United States were Yamaha "CF" types; and worldwide piano sales reached a record high when more than three million 
pianos were exported in 1973. This prompted the U.S. government to consider placing a high tax on imported pianos in an 
effort to stop Japanese pianos from gaining a higher market share. Many artists who used Steinway pianos exclusively began 
to praise the quality of the Yamaha "CF," and Steinway retaliated by pressuring artists to sign binding contracts in fear of the 

As Japan began to move toward a new era of global competitiveness in the 1980s, the piano industry began to experience 
insurmountable problems. Both domestic and international markets were reaching their saturation points, especially in Japan 


where upright pianos prominently featured next to the television in most middle-class homes were gathering dust. With a 
decline in the birthrate and the "exam hell" pressure on students to enter good schools, the domestic market for pianos 
declined sharply from 250,000 in 1980 to 47,000 in 2000. Plans to export to the United States were thwarted by Chinese and 
Korean piano makers who could produce instruments at much lower costs, and a stronger yen and liberalization of trade 
brought the cost of a Steinway close to a Yamaha or Kawai. Companies struggled to find new ways to survive. 

One important solution to the dilemma was the development in 1959 of an all-transistor Electone electronic organ, first in a 
successful series of Yamaha ELECTRONIC instruments. It was a milestone for Japan's music industry. Acoustic pianos were 
affordable and popular with Japan's new middle -class, but future successes depended upon new technology that captured the 
consumer's imagination. In 1978 Nippon Gakki introduced the world's first digital keyboard, model number CS-70M, based 
on an FM digital synthesis tone-generation formula developed by Stanford University professor John Chowning (b. 1934). 
This was followed by an impressive selection of digital instruments, ranging from portable keyboards, electric pianos, and 
SYNTHESIZERS to the Clavinova, which has placed Yamaha as the world's leader in electronic-instrument production. Kawai, 
ROLAND, CASIO, and other makers followed closely behind to produce instruments equivalent in quality and price. 

A significant event in the industry's history came in 1982 when Nippon Gakki developed the DISKLAVIER, an acoustic 
piano with attached computer. Optical sensors behind each key measure the duration and intensity of the notes and the use of 
the foot PEDALS. These signals are translated into MIDI, the musical computer language, and are accurately recorded onto 
computer discs. Recordings can be ed ited, overdubbed, transposed, and even transcribed. A PLAYER PIANO for the 
technological age, the Disklavier records and reproduces music electronically with the TOUCH and TONE of an acoustic 
piano. Although it originally was meant for professional studio and classroom use, it is popular as an alternative 
entertainment device for hotels, restaurants, and private homes. 

Today, the Yamaha Corporation (company's name changed in 1987 from Nippon Gakki) alone produces more than ten 
thousand pianos per month. Excluding the Clavinova, this accounted for 17.7 percent of the company's total sales in the 
mid-1990s, with approximately 54.6 percent intended for the domestic market. The United States is Yamaha's largest piano 
importer to date, but the projected total demand in South Korea and other parts of Asia may exceed the Japanese market. 
Sales of the Disklavier grand-piano model in the United States is almost equal to the number of sales in Japan; Japanese 
consumers prefer the smaller, upright version complete with karaoke discs to practice their favorite popular songs. Yamaha, 
like Kawai and other competitors, enhances business with comprehensive after-service systems, academies to train piano 
technicians, the manufacture of guitars, flutes and other instruments, and a worldwide network of more than eleven thousand 
music schools. 

The Japanese piano industry also has gained an international reputation for excellence. Yamaha and Kawai 
CONCERT GRANDS have been promoted by some of the world's leading pianists, among them Sviatoslav Richter, Alexis 
Weissenberg, and Denis Matsuev, and used for concerts and international music festivals. The Yamaha Concert Grand "CF" 
and the Conservatory Grand "C3" pianos, manufactured from 1967 after several unsuccessful attempts in the early 1950s, and 
Kawai' s "EX" concert grand are widely praised for their excellent quality. 



Hiyama Rikur6. Gakki gyokai (The Musical Instrument Industry). Tokyo: Kyoiku-sha, 1977. 

. Yokin piano no monogatari (The Story of the Piano: A Western String Instrument). Tokyo: Gcijutsu Gcndai-sha, 1988. 

Iguchi Motonari. Waga piano, wagci jinsci: Ongaku kuiso (Our Pianos, Our Lives: Musical Memoirs). Tokyo: Geijutsu Gendai-sha, 1979. 
Imaizumi Kyoaki, ed. Gakki no jiten: Piano (Encyclopedia of Instruments: Piano). Rev. ed. Tokyo: Musicanova/Ongaku no Tomo-sha, 

Kinebuchi Naotomo. Piano chishiki arakaruto (Piano Knowledge, A la Carte). Rev. ed. Tokyo: Tokyo Ongaku-sha, 1991. 

Maema Takanori and Iwano Yuichi. Nihon no piano 100-nen: Piano-zukuri ni kaketa hitobito (One Hundred Years of the Japanese Piano: 

The People Who Gambled on Making Pianos). Tokyo: Soshi-sha, 2001. 
Neff, Robert. "Yamaha's Coup d'etat is Only Half the Battle." International Business Week (9 March 1992): 26. 
100: A Century of Excellence 1887-1987 Yamaha. Hamamatsu: Yamaha Corporation, 1987. 
Piano no koza [Lectures on the Piano]. 8 Vols. Tokyo: Ongaku no Tomo-sha, 1984. 

Shirasuna Shoichi. "Nihon ni okeru piano," [The Development of the Piano Industry in Japan] in Ongaku dai-jiten, Encyclopedia Musica. 

Vol 4. 1989 Tokyo: Heibon-sha, 1983. 
Specter, Michael. "The Diskette at the Keyboard." International Herald Tribune (11 July 1990). 
Toyama Kazuyuki. Piano niyosete [The Piano Industry in Japan]. Tokyo: Ongaku no Tomo-sha, 1989. 

Ueno Akira. "Nihon no piano kyoku." In Piano ongaku jiten [Encyclopedia of Piano Music, Compositions]. 2 vols. Tokyo: Zen Ongaku 
Shuppan-sha, 1982:260-71. 
JEFFERSON, THOMAS (1743-1826) 


Music was Thomas Jefferson's favorite recreation — at home or in attendance at public musical events. He was an 
accomplished violinist. While he did not play a KEYBOARD instrument, he had a deep interest in the piano. During his 
lifetime he owned, rented, or bought as gifts for his wife, daughters, and granddaughters who did play, at least five pianos and 
four other keyboard instruments. Several details are known about these instruments. 

In 1771, soon after the first appearance of a piano in the British colonies, Jefferson requested his agent in London to buy 
one as a gift for Martha Wayles Skelton, Jefferson's bride in 1772. Jefferson's account books show the piano at Monticello 
was sold to a neighbor in 1779. 

While serving in the Congress in Philadelphia from December 1782 to May 1784, Jefferson rented a harpsichord for his 
daughter Martha (Patsy), who had accompanied him there. 

After arriving with Martha in Paris in August 1784 to assist John Adams and Benjamin Franklin in treaty negotiations, 
Jefferson rented a piano for Martha. Although Jefferson preferred the piano, while he was in Paris he ordered a harpsichord for 
Martha from KIRK-MAN of London. It was delivered to Jefferson in Paris in November 1787, and it was sent to Monticello 
when the Jeffersons returned to the United States two years later. 

While serving as secretary of state in Philadelphia beginning in 1789, Jefferson had a spinet sent to him from Monticello 
for use by Maria (Polly), a younger daughter who had accompanied him there. Jefferson's papers do not show when or how 
he had acquired this instrument. 

In 1798, now serving as vice president, Jefferson bought a Kirkman harpsichord for Maria, at her request, although he had a 
stronger preference for the piano. In 1800 he bought a new type of UPRIGHT PIANO built by JOHN ISAAC HAWKINS of 
Philadelphia. While a significant advance in design, it was unsatisfactory as a musical instrument. Jefferson sent it back from 
Monticello after two years. 

The only existing piano Jefferson may have owned is a small ASTOR & COMPANY instrument built in Lon don about 
1799-1815 and now on display in Monti-cello. This piano may have been given to him by John Jacob Astor, while Jefferson 
was president in the WHITE HOUSE. The last piano Jefferson bought was a gift to his granddaughter Virginia Randolph 
Trist in 1825. It was built by Currier and Gilbert of Boston. The Trists kept this piano for fifteen years before disposing of it. 

Jefferson became a skillful technician in caring for the instruments his family owned. Jefferson's documents contain 
records of his purchases of tools, parts, and other supplies for this work. The Monticello music collection contains his 
keyboard TUNING instruction book and his tuning pattern in fifths and octaves that he wrote out. His writings show that he 
had as much knowledge of keyboard instruments as most contemporary technicians. 



Cripc, Helen. Thomas Jefferson and Music. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974. 
Kirk, Elisc K. Music at the White House. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 

Spillane. Daniel. Ilistoiy of the . Inwricaii Pianoforte: Its Technical Development and the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New 
York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 



Kawai is one of the leading Japanese piano manufacturers, with headquarters in Hamamatsu. The firm was established in 
1927 as the Kawai Musical Instrument Research Laboratory. Koichi Kawai (1885-1955), the founder, had been an employee 
of Torakusu YAMAHA (1851-1916) since 1897. He worked with Yamaha in building Yamaha's first piano. In 1929 the 
Kawai firm was renamed the Kawai Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company. During the early tears Kawai produced 
UPRIGHT PIANOS, GRAND PIANOS, and reed organs. Kawai was the first Japanese piano manufacturer to design and 
build piano ACTIONS rather than importing them. 

In 1955 Koichi Kawai died and his son Shigeru Kawai (b. 1922) was appointed president. In the years that followed, the 
company adopted modern manufacturing procedures, enabling it to produce large numbers of instruments efficiently. Through 
the use of these methods, as well as through an extensive door-to-door sales network, Kawai has become the second-largest 
piano manufacturer in Japan (surpassed only by Yamaha). In the 1960s Kawai had nearly 2,000 door-to-door salesmen in the 
field and over 300,000 people participating in Kawai Music Schools in Japan. In 1955 Kawai operated one manufacturing 
plant; today there are numerous factories, including the first Kawai facility in the United States, opened in 1989 in 
Lincolnton, North Carolina, where the less expensive consoles and studio uprights are built. All grands, uprights, and higher- 
end consoles are made in Japan. 

In 1963 the Kawai America Corporation was formed to begin importing and selling pianos and electronic organs in the 
United States. Since that time sales in the U.S. and other countries throughout the world have been very successful. 

Kawai has diversified into other musical areas, including the production of SYNTHESIZERS (1982) and the acquisition of 
TEISCO Electronics, a maker of sound-reinforcement equipment (1966), and the Lowrey Organ Company (1988). 

In 1989 Hirotaka Kawai, grandson of the founder, became the third president of the firm. Early in his tenure he invested 
tens of millions of dollars to incorporate advanced robotics in the production process. As of 2002, the company produces 
pianos (uprights and grands), synthesizers, digital pianos, and drum machines under its own name. It also began 
manufacturing the Boston line of pianos for STEINWAY in 1991. Under Hirotaka' s leadership Kawai Asia Manufacturing was 
established in Malaysia in 1991 and Kawai Finishing in the USA in 1995. 

Several models of Kawai pianos are recognized for their high quality. Many pianists who are first-prize winners and 
finalists at the world's most prestigious international piano competitions select Kawai as their choice of instrument. A select 
handcrafted grand piano line known as the Shigeru is currently made in three sizes: Shigeru II (5 feet 10 inches), Shigeru III 
(6 feet 1 inch), and Shigeru V (6 feet 6 inches). Only one in one hundred pianos produced by Kawai bear the Shigeru name. 
The RX Series grand pianos range in size from 5 feet 5 inches to 7 feet 6 inches, while the EX and the GS-100 are full-size 
concert grands. Today Kawai is a multinational corporation employing over 5,000 people on four continents. 

See also Japan-Piano Industry 



Kawai America Corporation, ( Accessed January 2002. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. Boston: Brookside Press, 1994. 
"Kawai at 60." Music Trades Magazine 135 (May 1987): 74-6. 

Michael Kemble began making pianos in a small North London factory in 1911. In 1971 YAMAHA Corporation invested 
in Kemble Organ Sales, acquiring a third share in the company. In 1980 Kemble-Yamaha decided to move into retailing and 
acquired CHAPPELL of Bond Street in London's West End, opening in addition a second Chappell branch in the new Milton 
Keynes shopping center. The idea behind both locations was to provide showcase outlets with skilled staff for the expanding 


sales of their products. In 1986 Kemble signed an agreement to start manufacturing Yamaha UPRIGHT PIANOS under 
license in the United Kingdom for the European market. In 1988 Yamaha became a majority shareholder in the Kemble 
company. With Yamaha's experience in expansion, the Kemble factory was introduced to state of the art machinery and 
computer-controlled production techniques furnished by Yamaha. This modernization and expansion allowed for greater 
production and sales. In 1993 Kemble accounted for 85 percent of United Kingdom piano production. In 2001 piano 
production totaled seven thousand pianos, of which 70 percent were exported. 

Based in Bletchley, Milton Keynes since 1968, the Kemble factoiy employs 125 people, and the nearby Yamaha-Kemble 
facility for marketing and distribution employs a similar number on its staff. Kemble states that it is the best-selling British 
piano in the world as well as Western Europe's largest piano manufacturer, producing both Kemble and Yamaha pianos. 

All Kembles have a solid Bavarian spruce SOUNDBOARD, maple BRIDGES, Roslau STRINGS, Delignit PIN-BLOCKS, 
and nickel-plated TUNING PINS. The Kemble ACTION is purchased from Yamaha. Brand names "John Brinsmead" and 
"Cramer" are used on pianos sold in Singapore and other Asian countries. Joint Managing Director Brian Kemble (b. 1952), 
grandson of the founder, looks forward to the future with optimism and has confidence that the relationship with Yamaha will 
continue to prosper. 



Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 3ded. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 1994. 

Palmieri, Robert, Letters from Brian Kemble, Joint Managing Director, Kemble & Co., 28 March; 2 April 2002. 
Yamaha. "News and Events." ( 

The keybed is a wooden structural part of the piano that runs the length of the KEYBOARD side of the instrument. The 
keybed serves as a support for the piano's ACTION, keyboard, and KEYFRAME. It is usually built of spruce. 



The keyblock is a removable wooden piece that is placed at both sides of the piano KEYBOARD to hold the ACTION in 
place. The two keyblocks are stained to match the casework and are sometimes decorative as well as functional. Keyblocks 
are sometimes called cheekblocks. 



A keyboard cover is one of the moving parts of a piano's cabinetwork; it is used to enclose and protect the KEYS when the 
piano is not in use. It is often called a fallboard. The piano maker's name is usually stenciled on the underside of the keyboard 
cover and is not visible until the cover is raised. 

See also Nameboard 



Changing styles in piano construction, repertoire, and TECHNIQUE throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries brought about numerous inventions and PATENTS for practice, hand guidance, and abstract exercise devices. Many 
became more or less well known under generic nomenclature, such as practice clavier, digitorium, dactylion, hand gymnasium, 
and legato monitor. Most went no further than the patent office, but several were marketed with varying success under exotic 
trade names, such as "Chiroplast," "Technicon," "Tekniklavier," and "Gyastik." 

Practically all categories of Western instruments have received attention relating to simulator practice devices, usually 
directed toward reducing sound to avoid disturbing uninterested parties. Brass wind players have long had the advantage of 
their various mutes or the mouthpiece practiced separately, and sound-dampening practice bags with armholes suspended on a 
metal frame were once offered for clarinets and other woodwinds. Percussionists have commonly used snare drum practice 
pads, and entire drum-set practice-pad rigs have been devised incorporating the usual height and angle adjustability of the 
various components. Mute violins and cellos were once popular, which included the necessary extremities, stringing, and 
tuning elements but with the resonating box greatly reduced or missing altogether. However, it was the piano that enticed 
musicians and inventors to design simulator practice devices and exercise or hand-guidance apparati ranging from bizarre 
contraptions to seemingly useful machinery. 

Many of those that would now seem quite reasonable were simply attempts to make the piano neighbor friendly by muting 
it to a degree well beyond that of the soft PEDAL. Patents in this area pertain to the UPRIGHT instrument. Most utilize a 
middle pedal to lift, lower, or swivel a batten containing a strip of FELT in front of the STRINGS where the HAMMERS 
strike. The principle was similar to late-eighteenth-century instruments with a hand stop or those of the early nineteenth 


century having one or more pedals that would shift a batten of buff LEATHER tabs or other material in between the hammers 
and strings as an expressive device. (See MODERATOR.) The center muting pedal is currently available on numerous 
uprights manufactured in various Asian and American factories. They essentially reinvent patented mechanisms such as that 
by George Shearer of Oneonta, New York, who in 1893 received U.S. Patent no. 503,880 for a Piano Practice Pedal. 

Not surprisingly, the rise of keyboard practice and exercise gadgetry parallels most other areas of mechanical engineering 
during the Industrial Revolution, with sporadic attempts still appearing at the Patent Office. However, all of this was 


foreshadowed by an interesting eighteenth-century hand-guidance example. InL'art de toucher le clavecin, (1716), Francois 
Couperin (1688-1733) states: 

If a pupil holds one wrist too high in playing, the only remedy that I have found is to get someone to hold a small 
flexible stick which is passed over the faulty wrist, and at the same time under the other wrist. If the defect is the 
opposite, the reverse must be done. But this stick must not absolutely hinder the freedom of the player. Little by little 
this fault will correct itself; and this invention has been of great service to me. 

The earliest patented and relatively successful attempt at devising and marketing a handguidance rig was the invention of 
Johann Bernhard Logier (1777-1846), a German composer, flutist, conductor, and music teacher who immigrated to England 
in 1791. By 1810 he was a resident of Dublin and becoming known for conducting group piano-instruction on multiple 
instruments. In 1814 Logier obtained British Patent no. 3,806 for an "Apparatus for Facilitating the Acquirement of Proper 
Execution on the Pianoforte." This is the earliest known attempt at a hand-guidance device attached to the piano, and it surely 
spawned what was to become an ever-continuing maze of inventions for guiding, exercising, and stretching the pianist's 

The Logier invention was marketed as the "Royal Patent Chiroplast" or "Hand Director." It consisted of two main elements. 
One was a "gamut board" containing the great staff, showing the diatonic notes pertinent to the average KEYBOARD 
compass of the time and a chromatic version printed on the reverse. The gamut board was positioned over the keyboard with 
the var ious notes lined up over their respective KEYS for visual ready reference. The second or mechanical element was a 
"position frame" with two parallel mahogany rails attached to the instrument in front of the keyboard to restrict extreme 
vertical motion of the wrists and forearm. A few inches behind the wooden rails was a parallel brass rod or "bracing bar" 
containing two sliding brass hand-guides, "each having five compartments lined with leather to admit the thumb and four fingers 
of each hand." The guides were free "to slide upon the bracing bar, and have each a screw, by which they are fixed over such 
keys as may be required." The hand guides also included a brass wire, or "wrist guide," with "a regulator" to prevent the 
wrists from being inclined outward. Logier' s mechanical approach to playing posture combined with gamut-board 
information and group instruction probably represents the earliest effort to minimize teacher workload while maximizing 
income and time-slot efficiency, excepting, of course, the initial outlay to purchase and maintain multiple pianos, often ten or 

The Logier teaching method created a controversy among professionals in the field, with both sides occasionally publishing 
articles and pamphlets pro and con. Over a half-dozen had appeared by 1818. Publicity from both sides, in effect, served to 
move it ahead, and by 1818 over two dozen Logier "Academies" and a "Chiroplast Club" had been organized in the United 
Kingdom. Logier' s home office in Dublin was known as "Chiroplast Hall." With the exception of France, a certain amount 
of Logier-Method activity spread to other parts of Europe, with isolated examples appearing in the United States and as far 
east as India. It made special headway in Germany, where Logier was invited to Berlin in 1821 by the Prussian 
government and there continued teaching until 1826. Support from the artistic community in opposition to Logier's critics 
included Louis Spohr, Samuel Webbe, and in particular, Frederic Kalkbrenner, who eventually devised his own simplified 
form of the Chiroplast ("guide-mains"). The Kalkbrenner version was said to be still available in England as late as the 1870s. 
The Chiroplast was, of course, warmly endorsed by MUZIO CLEMENTI, since his company was the manufacturer and 
enjoyed brisk sales for a number of years. Although real interest in the Logier Method waned in less than a decade, numerous 
editions of his "First Companion to the royal patent Chiroplast..." were published by the author (Dublin), Clementi & 
Company (London), J.Green (London), Spear and Ditson (Boston), and was still available in the 1840s. 

The earliest example of an American patent for any type of pianist's hand guidance or exercising invention is found in 
1849. U.S. Patent no. 6,558 was issued to Ernest Von Heeringen of Pickensville, Alabama, for a "Piano Attachment," or as he 
also called it, a "No-lime-tangere" (touch me not). It essentially reinvents aspects of the Chiroplast (minus the gamut board) 
by attaching three adjustable rails to the instrument, two in front of the keyboard and a third farther back near the top of the 
NAMEBOARD. The lower of the two rails in front is for the student to avoid by keeping the wrists and arms in a "graceful 
position" over it. "Touch me not" certainly applies to this item, which was designed with vertical pins to prick the wrists, thus 
"producing pain" and serving to "sufficiently admonish the pupil" for allowing the wrists to sag. The other front rail is of 
polished metal and fitted with two cushioned "pieces" on which the wrists are to be strapped and supposedly slide freely, 
maintaining the hands at a right angle to the keys with all of the motion being "from the shoulders." The uppermost rail 
farther back over the keys has hanging from it two or four sets of five loops or rings attached to springs or elastic for 
obtaining finger strength and "independence." It supposedly offers an abstract exercise element, but the patent is not clear 
whether or not the spring units would allow lateral motion. 

Whether knowingly or not, Von Heeringen' s hanging spring-loop exerciser is a version of the Herz Dactylion, patented in 
1836 by the German pianist, composer, and teacher, Henri (Heinrich) Herz. It suspends two quintets of spring-retraction finger 


rings from a wooden frame that can be attached to a piano (or table) with the ring-exerciser units positioned over the 
keyboard. An example of it is preserved at the Musee Instrumental de Bruxelles (object no. 1675). 

Another American idea for an arm-hand guide attached (screwed) to the piano was patented in 1885 (U.S. Patent no. 326, 
444) by Charles F.Meyering of Rochester, New York. It consists of one keyboard-length roller bar, adjustable in height and 
from front to rear, upon which the wrists are to be supported as necessary. One of the patent's three claims includes a paper 
having a Logier-like gamut of notes covering the entire surface of the roller. The student may rotate it to search for rudiments 
as needed. 

Hand-guidance rigs attached to the piano, usually an upright or SQUARE grand, are quite numerous in the U.S. Patent files. 
Many include some sort of sliding wrist-supports or "carriages," plus statements regarding proper right-angle arm position or 
posture philosophy in general. Some make no claim regarding novel invention, purpose, or necessity but instead claim only a 
novel way of attaching the rig to or neatly folding under a piano or organ, and in a few cases, free-standing in front of or just 
beneath the keyboard (or writing desk). One such invention in 1893 by Rebecca Kirk of Stratford, Ontario (U.S. Patent no. 
492,889), specified an adjustable keyboard-width frame on its own legs that would fit neatly under the keyboard and be pulled 
out when needed. It contained a sort of track for two rolling arm-rest carriages, each incorporating a large recessed roller 
allowing front to rear motion. Rather than necessarily promoting specific technique, the main purpose was to reduce fatigue at 
the keyboard or writing desk. 

Many of the patents for hand-guidance rigs attached to the piano included metal spring or elastic elements for relatively 
abstract finger exercises positioned on the keyboard itself. Ideas for free-standing and portable abstract exercising units began 
to appear near the mid-point of the nineteenth century. A common feature was a splaying device for increasing the span 
between fingers by forcing adjacent digits over a (usually padded) wedge fixture. This aspect was possibly the most logical 
and helpful part of such devices if not pushed to the extreme. 

It was certainly a safer means of achieving some degree of added flexibility without eventually resorting to "digital 
tenotomy" (or ring-finger operation), a procedure attributed to (or at least described by) Dr. William S.Forbes, in which the 
tendonous bands are severed between the fourth and fifth fingers. This relatively dangerous practice was being increasingly 
encouraged during the last quarter of the century, and numerous articles debating the risks and benefits appeared in scientific, 
medical, and music journals on both sides of the Atlantic. The controversy lingered on into the twentieth century, and a pro- 
side personality would occasionally exhibit a talented student who had undergone the operation and supposedly showed 
marked improvement. 

Several devices were patented to address only the matter of increasing finger span or height, usually re quiring the 
participant to force adjacent fingers over sized wedges or adjustable two-part wedge elements. One adjustable idea was An 
"Apparatus for Stretching the Hand and Strengthening Fingers and Wrists" by Richard Pitcher of London, England, in 1915, 
British Patent no. 3,870, followed in 1916 with U.S. Patent no. 1,174,278. An 1899 example, the "Hand Extender" designed 
by Frederick Crane of Massachusetts, (U.S. Patent no. 623, 235), involved only passive exercises. A threaded rod adjusted the 
distance between two finger slings attached to it (one containing a nut with the corresponding thread count), in which any pair 
of fingers (not necessarily adjacent) could be forced apart for extended periods. Apparently the device did a little better than 
only achieving patent protection. Several early-twentieth-century advertisements in Etude indicated that the "Pianist's Hand 
Extender" was available for two dollars. 

Free-standing portable and user-wearing exercise gadgetry was patented in many varying forms and given exotic and 
confusing nomenclature, some of it perhaps originally intended to be commercially distinctive but later becoming rather 
generic as competition expanded. Those machines patented or sold as "digitoriums" were, as the name implies, concerned 
mostly with finger and wrist development. They tended to be a simple box device having five spring keys, usually with 
adjustable tension, and with some other exercising or splaying element. 

A relatively early and somewhat successfully marketed example is "Marks' Digitorium" patented in 1871 (U.S. Patent no . 
117,791) by Myer Marks of London, England. An earlier version had received British Patent no. 3,076 in 1866. It is merely a 
wooden box having five exercising keys (fixed tension in the earlier version), a pullout adjustable wrist support, and four 
splaying wedges, one each on the top, back, and sides. Examples of it are at the Royal College of Music, London, and in at 
least one private collection. 

A more elaborate from of digitorium could perhaps be classed under the heading of handgymnasia, in which several 
varying exercise stations are mounted on a board for use at a table. An early example is the "Chirogymnaste," patented in 
1840 by a Parisian piano dealer, Casimir Martin. It included nine small exercise devices directed at finger span and dexterity. 
Two different models of it are preserved at the Musee Instrumental du Conservatoire de Bruxelles. Of those that received 
patents, the one that actually went into reasonable production and sales was the "Technicon" or "Pianist's Hand Gymnasium," 
patented in the U.S. (no. 327,918) and six other countries in 1 885 by James Brotherhood, a Canadian Railway official then living 
in Stratford, Ontario. 

It was offered in two basic styles: "Teacher's and Student's," which essentially meant larger and smaller. The Teacher's 
Technicon involved four exercise stations mounted on the board. Front and center was a quintet of adjustable tension spring 


keys made of oak with short celluloid key tops. The adjustment was simply the location of the sliding fulcrum blocks 
underneath. Mounted over that unit was a vertical padded A-frame for stretching finger span. The exercising stations at the 
sides of the board were directed at arm and wrist development. That, to the user's right, consisted of a lever device above 
which was a steel rod containing a sliding iron cylinder weight. A set screw locked it into position for desired weight level. 
The arm, palm up or down, with the elbow resting on an optional cushion, lifted the device to exercise all the muscles affected 
in either position. To the user's left was a similar device in the form of a rocker-arm with spring tension that required a pull- 
down motion. 

The Brotherhood Technicon was regularly advertised in various East Coast and European music journals around the turn of 
the century and sold by dealers such as J.Howard Foote in New York. An example of it is preserved at the National Museum 
of American History, Division of Musical History, object number 66.144. (See illustration.) 

Like any abstract exercising or practice gadget to hit the market, the Technicon received pro and con coverage in the music 
journals. Criticism would lead one to believe that Brotherhood was just another contraption inventor. In fact, he was a fairly 
serious music educator who published numerous articles on physiology and music, some of which were papers read before 
meetings of the Music Teachers' National Association (MTNA) in 1885, 1888, and 1889. Criticism in some cases accused 
Brotherhood of using MTNA as a forum to increase Technicon sales. 

J.Howard Foote's catalog of 1899 boasts the Technicon as "Recommended by the Greatest Living Pianists, and especially 
so by the late Abbe Liszt." Two endorsement letters are offered, beginning with "What the Abbe List [sic] wrote": 

Weimar, 14 October 1885 

Mr. J.Brotherhood 

Dear Sir : Unfortunately I am too old now to deri from your invention. I recommend, however, the "Technicon" to 
younger, energetic natures of whom there will be no scarcity. 

Cordially yours, F.Liszt 

One can easily interpret LISZT'S clever comments as having made no commitment at all. This is followed by a 265-word 
letter to Brotherhood from William Sherwood, which is also curiously vague. Only in the final sentence does he allude to the 
Technicon by clos ing with "which piano players will have to thank you and your modest invention for in a superlative degree 
as soon as they are able to know its value." The majority of famous-name endorsements for methods and technical equipment 
came from parties who achieved their status without ever using the methods or items involved. 

Some free-standing exercise machine ideas were patented to offer passive exercise or finger therapy. Norace A.Nathan of 
Philadelphia received U.S. Patent no. 18,857 for his "flexomanus." The device has five finger-rings suspended alternately 
high and low from a rod that looks like an automobile crank-shaft. Crank handles at either side rotate the shaft with one hand 
while the other places the fingers in the rings to receive the rapid motion generated by the machine. It includes two integral 
clamps to secure it to a table or piano. A similar device secured French Patent no. 74,037 for August Vincent of Paris in 1866. 
Had it gone into production, a catchy trade name would surely have been necessary to replace "Invention pour des 
perfectionnements apportes aux machines a delier les doigts." Instead of inserting the fingers into rings, as on Nathan's 
Flexomanus, they were to be placed directly and constantly on five pianolike keys with a padded rod supporting the wrist. The 
hand crank and a system of cams rapidly move the keys in any of a number of sequences that could be preset. 

Numerous exercising and guidance rigs were designed and patented to be worn by the user. In the guidance-support 
category, U.S. Patent no. 627,646 was issued to District of Columbia resident Hugo Kuerschner for a "Hand Support for 
Piano Students" in 1899. This consisted of a strap worn over the neck and shoulders and terminating at each end in an arm- 
supporting loop attached with a swivel arrangement not unlike fishing-tackle connections. The overall length was adjustable 
but no mention is made of any elastic elements. One wonders how the inventor achieved his claim of "sufficient freedom" to 
reach all parts of the keyboard. Turn-of-the-century advertisements indicate that "Kuerschner's Hand Support for Beginners 
on the Piano" was available for fifty cents. 

Another category of user- worn gadgetry involved various wrist and finger weights in the form of a cuff, bracelet, and finger 
ring(s). An early French patent (no. 30,509) was granted in 1857 to Francois- Jules Monestier for "Un appareil dit: Agili- 
Main." It consists of a weighted bracelet and five weighted finger-rings that could be worn at either the first or second 
phalanx. Various weighted cuff and digital attachments (including gloves minus finger tips) were patented on both sides of 
the Atlantic. 

A number of patented hand and arm-worn gadgets look very much like either medieval torture devices or orthopedic 
equipment. They were sometimes called dactylions and took any form from simple elastic exercising bands surrounding 
several or all fingers to complicated frames with prepositioned, spring-loaded finger loops that exercised digits and 
supposedly controlled finger spacing. An example of the simplistic would be the "Un sort de dactylion dit: Veloce-Mano" 


(French Patent no. 71,075, awarded to Martine Emilie Louise Marie Faivre of Paris in 1866). It is nothing more than three 
elastic bands, each folded over in a figure-eight and joining two adjacent fingers for spreading and lifting exercise away from 
the keyboard. An example of the complex would be the "Manual Gymnasium for Musicians" (U.S. Patent no. 494,197) of 
Joseph Hall of Kirmington, England, in 1893 with a British patent application still pending from the year before. It involves a 
bracelet for each wrist containing five finger rings worn at the medial phalanges. The rings are attached to elastic or narrow- 
gauge coiled metal springs that maintain tension and front to rear position by means of a strap leading back to the arm just 
above the elbow. The strap and spring arrangement is reversible to favor exercising either flexor or extensor muscles. 

One American example actually went into limited production. One of the illustrations accompanying this article shows 
L.E.Levassor's Piano Dactylion as advertised in a March 1888 issue of Kunkel's Musical Review, Saint Louis. It is quite 
similar to a "Finger-Exercising Device for Pianists," minus thumb (sp)ring, for which Alfons G.Gardner of New Orleans 
received U.S. Patent no. 272,951 in 1883. Both essentially develop an 1856 French patent (no. 28,737) granted to William 
Prangley of Salisbury, England, which included only one spring-loop for exercising the fourth or ring finger. Most handworn 
dactylions were meant for use while at the keyboard. 

One other miscellaneous user-worn gadget idea deserves mention for sheer novelty, if nothing else. In 1882 Steven Emory 
of Newton, Massachusetts, received U.S. Patent no. 253, 857 for his "Legato Monitor for Piano Forte Players." This is not 
strictly a legato monitor in what pianistically came to be understood as the truest meaning of the term (discussed below). Emory's 
idea was an excess motion detector in the form of a bracelet(s) worn on one or both wrists. Mounted on the bracelet is a strip 
of spring metal in the form of the letter U turned on its side. The lower leg of the U has fixed to its end, vertically, a small 
bell. The upper end contains a down-pointing rod that terminates in a ball shape. This is the (external) clapper positioned quite 
close to the bell's rim. A wire and screw-eye adjustment mechanism farther back in the {/-frame maintains a specific distance 
between bell and clapper. Undue motion in the execution of practically any keyboard exercise would set off the bell to warn 
the player of poor form. Or, it supposedly can be adjusted to sound "only when the accented notes are to be played." Instead of 
sustaining such torture aurally, the device is designed also to be used without the bell so the student can receive the warning 
taps directly on the wrist. 

Elastic offered various possibilities to the inventor attempting to sell low-cost and portable exercise gadgetry to pianists and 
violinists. In 1894 Julia Strong of Brooklyn, New York, received U.S. Patent no. 530, 669 for her "Exercising Machine." The 
patent includes seven claims for a simple strip of elastic terminating at one end in an arm or hand loop, with a foot loop at the 
other end. Forearm exercise seems to have been its main purpose. Strong did put it on the market on her own under the trade 
name "Gyastik." An advertisement in an 1898 Etude offers it for one dollar with two elastic strips, one "heavy" and one 
"light." A second dollar would buy the deluxe model with a clamp-on stand for attachment to a table or a door frame. Similar, 
and advertised by Theodore Presser in Etude during the 1890s, was the "Bidwell Pocket Hand Exerciser" for pianists and 
violinists. It was essentially the same thing but with an "improved" stirrup-like foot loop and other finger-ring-terminated 
strips of elastic (rubber) hanging along the main one. It sold for two dollars and apparently afforded more varied opportunities 
for exercise than the Gyastik. 

Many free-standing exercisers submitted for patent protection took the form of a simple keyboard in a box having only five 
(or an octave) of keys. They usually featured some form of tension or key-dip adjustability. Several patents in this category 
illustrate devices that are complete in themselves but infer that the range could be extended to full keyboard compass. This, in 
effect, gets into a category of silent practice keyboards, some designed to fold in half for better portability. Such a folding 
keyboard manufactured by Wilhelm Gertz of Hamburg is preserved in the Smithsonian Division of Musical History (cat. no. 

Those of limited compass sometimes retained the name Digitorium, such as U.S. Patent no. 307, 863 issued to Adolph 
Lothhammer of Sacramento, California, in 1884, or the "Piano-Touch Instructor," U.S. Patent no. 643,028 by Alois Allmuth 
of New York City, 1900. Those claiming or intended to have full compass received obvious names such as "Exercising 
Keyboard" and "Dummy Piano." Most of the devices in all these categories were conceived by minor figures in the inventor 
or music world, but at least one well-known music-educator personality submitted an idea to the Patent Office. The eminent 
Boston-area pianist and teacher at the New England Conservatory, Carlyle Petersilia, received U.S. Patent no. 329,592 in 
1885 for a "Mute Piano." The patent drawings show a simple silent keyboard ACTION having a combination lead-weight and 
downpressure spring return. Any adjustability would apparently require rebending or replacing springs individually, although 
the inventor does suggest a method for disengaging the springs when the device is not in use. 

Some instrument patents in the silent or toneless keyboard category claim their usefulness as a legato monitor. The concept 
of playing legato (in the linear sense) at the keyboard and the use of mechanical ways to achieve it is rather limited to the 
fourth quarter of the nineteenth century and lingered on into the twentieth, especially in America. Legato can be interpreted to 
mean various things depending on any number of factors. However, late-nineteenth-century piano pedagogues increasingly 
tended to consider it to mean the progression from one note to another, perfectly timed so that the former ends exactly when 
the succeeding begins, or, overlaps it for a split second. For some parties it was a concept to be employed with mechanical 
efficiency, regardless of repertoire. 


It is easily a debatable concept, but many attempts and patents were made to devise toneless keyboard instruments with audible 
metallic click sounds on the down stroke and more often on both up and down strokes of each key. The click(s) of the key(s) 
depressed coinciding exactly with the click(s) of the key(s) released, in theory, indicated a properly executed legato, so- 
called, when those motions, well rehearsed, were applied to the piano (a Well-REGULATE piano, one should add). The 
concept was relatively prevalent at the time, and it most likely owes its development, in part, to the elaborate physiology- 
oriented teaching method of Mr. and Mrs. Almon K.Virgil. Their teaching instruments included the "technic table" and, in 
particular, the VIRGIL PRACTICE CLAVIER. It was the most successful of all to incorporate the click principle in 
preference to musical pitches. 

The Virgils's operations and methods were extensive and well known during their nearly fifty years in business, and they 
eventually encountered mild attempts at competition. Lyon & Healy, in Chicago, for example, devoted page 386 of its 482- 
page 1925 catalog to advertising its "Folding Valise Practice Keyboards." Four- and seven-octave models are offered. Both 
have "down and up clicks standard," and the copy includes a paragraph explaining the purpose(s) of the clicks. 

The legato monitor practice-keyboard ideas submitted to the Patent Office sometimes carried matters to extremes. Louis 
Illmer, Jr., of Washington, D.C., submitted an eighteen-claim application, which in 1898 received U.S. Patent no. 610, 448 for 
a "Mute Clavier." Virgil's commercial use of the term "clavier" was already beginning to reassociate its generic mean ing to 
include toneless practice-keyboards in general. Illmer' s legato monitor idea involved a mechanism for a key not released in 
time to be trapped in the down-stroke position when the following key was depressed, or, if released too soon, to sound a 
warning bell. Many of the inventor's eighteen claims concern only minor mechanism details, in addition to an integral music 

Patent applications were also submitted for methods to install a monitor click mechanism into the piano itself. This concerned 
upright instruments in which the action above the keys would be shifted upward and out-of-play, and the keys would then operate 
any of the various legato monitor elements ranging from simple to absurdly complex. Various patents in this relatively small 
category claim that such a mechanism can be installed into existing pianos. While technically possible, all the patent drawings 
show mechanisms which, from a bottom-line cost point of view, would only have been commercially practical if installed as 
original action parts at the factory. 

A simple example would be one for which Edmund Pfeifer of Austin, Texas, received U.S. Patent no. 878, 421 in 1908. 
Although he called it a "Mute Attachment for Pianos," the strings do not sound when the device is engaged. The action is 
shifted upward and out-of-play, and the key ends then yield an adequate noise on their up and down strokes for the so-called 
legato monitor or other silent practice as desired. 

Some rather more complex versions of this idea were patented and, in fact, preceded the Pfeifer plan. In 1895 J.H.Salmon of 
Cambridge, Massachusetts, received U.S. Patent no. 547,810 for an "Exercising Attachment for Pianos." Like the Pfeifer 
design, a lever shifts the sticker and hammer action upward and out of contact with the keys. The click effect then involves an 
elaborate set of "rocker arm" striker elements and elevated swiveling click rails. A version of this elevated click rail 
mechanism is the main action feature of the "Tekniklavier," an improved form of the Virgil practice clavier developed by 
Amos C.Bergman for Mrs. A.M.Virgil shortly after 1900. The Salmon patent predates Bergman's first patent (1901) by six 
years, and Bergman's application of such mechanism pertains only to a straight practice clavier not combined with a piano 

Those patents calling for combination piano and practice clavier-legato monitor complexity would perhaps rate Francis 
W.Hale of Boston as chief designer of the absurd. Two U.S. patents he obtained in 1889, no. 396,155 and 396,156, utilize 
sophisticated weight-of-touch control, a complex mechanical means of disengaging the action, and an electrical click or 
"sounder" mechanism operated by open or closed circuits for "detecting by an electric signal errors in the relative time of 
striking the keys." His next patent, in 1892, no. 474,827, calls for a similar electrical mechanism to operate alerting 
"sounders" (clicks), bells, or a dial, and the key shifting and tension design has been updated with even more complexity, 
much of it to be installed just under the keyboard as well as within the CASE. 

His fourth patent, no. 493,622, in 1893 returns to a more practical idea: a "Pianoforte Mute." The practice clavier-legato 
monitor concept is not involved, but instead he offers a clever means of installing a felt piano-muting strip. His essential claim 
is a design that swivels the unit into position between the hammerheads and strings but when not in use is positioned not to be 
in a technician's way and need not be removed when tuning or regulating. 

It is certainly accurate to say that most of the keyboard physiology inventions submitted to the world's patent offices never 
appeared as working objects. In nearly all cases, patent models were not submitted, including those ideas that did go into 
limited production or even successful production. A survey of the would-be inventors involved would probably show that 
some were simply inventors per se, with no over-riding interest in music necessarily. Aside from the better-known music 
educators involved, a certain number of the lesser or unknown parties appear to have had a basic interest in music, judging 
from a few recurring patent applications in this area. An early American example would be Ernest Von Heeringen, whose 
1849 patent for a hand and arm guide, "Piano Attachment," is described above. Earlier that year he obtained U.S. Patent no. 6, 


328 for "Improvements in Musical Notation," in which he claimed a "new note nomenclature" including different 
terminology for intervals and a color system for sharps and flats. 

Piano-inventing mania prompted the following, which appeared in a March 1884 issue of Etude: 

An English musician, W.Ritchie, has invented a hand warmer for piano-practice in cold weather. It consists of an 
oblong lamp or stove, which is adjusted to the front of the keyboard, near the middle octaves. It burns four small lights, 
and by burning the best kerosene oil, no fumes are caused in the rooms. The next thing we will hear (is) that principals 
of our female colleges will be investigating the invention. Who will now supplement this invention with a featherbed 
piano stool? 



Gcrig, Reginald R. Famous Pianists and Their Technique. Washington-New York: Robert B.Luce, 1974. 

Huron, David B. Physiology and Music in the Late Industrial Revolution: A Catalogue of Sources. Monograph, Depart ment of Music, 

Conrad Grebel College, University of Waterloo, 1981. 
Loesser, Arthur. Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1954. 

Logier, Johann Bernhard. An Explanation and Description of the Royal I'litcnt ChiropList on Hand-Director. London: Clementi & Co., 

Nahm, Dorothea A. "The Virgil Clavier and Keyboard Pedagogy Method." Ph.D. diss., The Catholic University of Amer- ica, 1983. 
The New Crow Dictionary of Music and Musicians. Indited b\ Slanle\ Sadie. S.v. ''Logier, Johann Bernard." 1980. 

Raspe, Paul. "Pianos, virtuoses et instruments de torture a l'ep-oque romantique." Cles pou r la Musi que 31/32 (July-August 1971): 

The keyboard of the piano was patterned on those of the clavichord, organ, and harpsichord as they were at the end of the 
seventeenth century. Usual terms used for keyboard are: French, clavier, Italian, tastiera; German, Klaviatur or Tastatur. 
Throughout the history of the piano the keyboard has remained basically the same, with the KEYS for accidentals shorter than 
and above those for naturals, normally contrasting in color, and located at the back of the keyboard. Like many Italian 
makers, BARTOLOMEO CRISTOFORI used boxwood for naturals and rosewood (darker) or an EBONY covering for 
accidentals. During the eighteenth century, English and French pianos on the whole had white material (IVORY, etc.) for 
naturals and dark material (stained wood or ebony veneer) for accidentals, whereas most German and Austrian makers used 
the opposite, wood stained black for naturals and white (usually ivory) for accidentals. Around the beginning of the nineteenth 
century, the convention of white naturals and black accidentals became universal and has remained stable to the present. The 
type of piano, whether GRAND, SQUARE, or UPRIGHT, makes no difference for the keyboard. Some experiments and 
variations in keyboard design will be noted below. 


From the outset each note had one key (some split-key designs will be described below). Cristofori's 1722 piano (in Rome) 
and the one from 1726 (in Leipzig) and the circa 1725 ACTION (in Florence) have a range of four octaves (C-c 3 ), the usual 
range of Italian keyboards. The 1720 piano in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, was altered in the nineteenth 
century to four octaves and a fourth (C-f 3 ). One occasionally finds the short octave, borrowed from harpsichord design, in 
early eighteenth-century FORTEPIANOS. In the second half of the eighteenth century most pianos had five octaves, 
ordinarily FF-f 3 . Some early squares went down only to GG (often omitting GG-sharp), and a few instruments went up to g 3 
or even to a 3 . 

WILLIAM SOUTHWELL of Dublin was the first to extend the range to five octaves and a fifth (FF-c 4 ) in 1784. In 1790 
or 1791, at the urging of the pianist Jan Ladislav Dussek, JOHN BROAD WOOD in London began to make squares and grands 
with five octaves and a fifth, FF-c 4 , a range that persisted until the 1830s. Experiments with six-octave ranges began in 1795 
with Johann Jakob Konnicke in Vienna and Broadwood in 1796, and they became more common toward 1810. On the whole, 
English and French makers designed for a CC-c 4 range, whereas Germans and Austrians used FF-f 4 . Around 1815, some 
makers began to extend the compass to six octaves and a fourth, CC- f 4 , which became the upper standard for many years, 
though narrower ranges continued to be available. 

These extensions of range, increasingly demanded by musicians and composers, must have influenced the introduction in 
the 1820s of iron into the FRAMING, for the added STRINGS imposed enormous additional tension on frames. In the 1830s 
further extensions to g4 and a4 were common, and SEBASTIEN ERARD attempted seven octaves (CC-c 5 ) in 1824. 


FRANZ LISZT played his Paris debut on a seven-octave Erard that year, but it was far from perfected, and even at age 
thirteen Liszt was hard on pianos, breaking strings and knocking the instrument out of tune. During the 1 840s, the seven 
octaves AAA-a 4 began to be commonly used, becoming in the 1850s the usual range for grands and increasingly for uprights. 
The experimental mood of the nineteenth century may be gauged by the fact that JEAN-HENRI PAPE of Paris made an eight- 
octave piano, which was played in public in the 1 840s, and in 1 845 he PATENTED a piano of eight and one-half octaves but 
probably never built it. 

Around 1880 an additional third to c 5 came to be standard for grands, though the seven-octave range remained available for 
another twenty-five years or so. In the twentieth century, extensions downward have been made, especially by 
BOSENDORFER in Austria, which has made pianos with seven octaves and a fifth (FFF-c 5 ) and eight octaves (CCC-c 5 ). Only 
a few composers have written for the additional range, which modifies the keyboard only in that the keys below AAA are 
either painted black or covered by a wooden flap when the notes are not to be used, in order to prevent the pianist's 
inadvertently reaching too far for a bottom note. 

Experimental and Unconventional Keyboards 

Some experimental keyboards were not at all radical. A keyboard designed by Emil Olbrich, a Berlin pianist, only lowered the 
accidental keys, easing the pianist's reaching them. 

Split Keys 

This experiment, to be found in earlier harpsichords, is also found in a few pianos in the eighteenth century. In order to 
accommodate the instruments to both a "just" and a "mean-tone" TEMPERAMENT, the accidental keys were divided across 
the center, and the player used either the front half or the back half to play two different sets of strings. Thus one part of the 
C # key would play C-sharp, the other D-flat. A plan view of such a keyboard in a ZUMPE square of 1766 is in Harding, plate 

Transposing Keyboards 

Transposing functions do not affect the design of the keyboard, as they work by moving the entire keyboard. A late- 
eighteenth-century transposing square by JoHANN MATTHAUS SCHMAHL allows transposition by pushing the keyboard 
in, thus moving the HAMMERS under different strings, the strings being parallel to the keyboard. Later transposers, even into 
the twentieth century (Irving Berlin's Weser Brothers transposing upright is in the Smithsonian Institution), worked by 
moving the keyboard sideways. Another way of providing transposition was to build a moveable false keyboard above the real 
one, so that one could play in any key by correlating the false keyboard to the real one. Patents for such false keyboards were 
awarded to Edward Ryley in 1801 and to PLEYEL, Wolff et Compagnie in 1872. 

Concave Keyboards 

Several efforts were made to alter the straight line of the keyboard, with the thought that the arms and hands could move more 
naturally over a concave keyboard, an idea also to be found in organs. About 1 824 Johann Georg Staufer and Max Haidinger 
in Vienna incorporated the idea in a few pianos. Similar ideas are found in the work of Wolfel in Paris in the middle of the 
nineteenth century, and in an 1881 German patent by Gustav Neuhaus. In 1907 FERDINAND CLUTSAM patented the same 
design in Germany, to be found in a few instruments. About 1908 Albert Schultz made a Strahlenklaviatur, where the keys 
converge toward each other, but the keyboard ends in a straight line. An anonymous, probably American, square of the late 
nineteenth century with a concave keyboard is in the collection of the Schubert Club, Saint Paul, Minnesota. 

Microtonal Keyboards 

Pianos designed to play microtones have usually used the standard keyboard, sometimes with more than one manual. Two- 
and three-manual pianos with strings tuned a quarter-tone apart were built by such makers as GROTRIAN and FORSTER in 
the 1920s under the influence of composers Alois Haba, Ivan Vishnegradsky, and others. The Mexican composer Julian 
Carrillo worked up his metamorfoseadores, a series of pianos with TUNINGS from one-third to one-sixteenth tones, using 
progressively smaller ranges in order to employ the standard keyboard (the one-sixteenth-tone piano used ninety-seven keys 
to span one octave). The CARL SAUTER factory in Spaichingen, Germany, built a grand in 1947 and uprights in 1957-1958 
to Carrillo's specifications. 


Multi-manual Keyboards 

In addition to those for microtonal tuning, other multimanual keyboards have been attempted. Konnicke's 1795 experiment 
with a six-octave range used a six-manual keyboard with six sets of strings in order to allow playing in every key with "just" 
tuning. Jozef Wieniawski designed reversed keyboards, two superposed pianos with one conventional keyboard and one with 
the treble on the left and the bass on the right. Patented by the French firm of E.J.Mangeot in 1876, the design enabled the 
same FINGERINGS for the same passages by both hands and no doubt eliminated cross-hand playing. From 1922 to 1932, 
EMANUEL MOOR produced two-manual pianos of his own design, with one set of strings, the upper manual playing an 
octave above the lower, with couplers permitting the simultaneous use of both. 

The Jankd Keyboard 

In 1882 PAUL VON JANKO developed a radically redesigned "sequential" keyboard that William A.B.Lunn, using the name 
Arthur Wallbridge, had invented in 1843. Lunn used two rows of keys in whole tones, the lower row from C-sharp, the upper 
from C. An earlier "chromatic keyboard" (with only one manual) had been presented in 1791 at the Berlin Academy by 
Johann Rohleder, with "naturals" and "accidentals" alternating, the whole -tone scale from C as the "naturals," the whole-tone 
scale from C-sharp as the "accidentals." Something similar was advocated in the 1870s by the Chroma- Verein des 
Gleichstufigen Tonsystems. Janko extended the idea by triplicating the touch-pieces, giving three places for the finger to play 
each note. The advantages included a greatly extended reach for the hand because an octave is only thirteen centimeters 
instead of the standard 16V4 centimeters, identical fingerings for every major and every minor scale, identical distances for the 
hand for each interval, and alternative fingerings involving moving from one pair of rows to others. Some experiments with 
adapting it to SYNTHESIZER keyboards are said to be currently under way. 
See also Transposing Keyboards 



Cole, Michael. The Pianoforte in //;,• Classical Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 

1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 
Marcusc, Sibyl. A Survey of Musical Instruments. New York: W.W.Norton, 1975. 
Pollens, Stewart. The Early Pianoforte. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. 
Ripin, Edwin M., et al. The Piano. (New Grove Music Series.) New York: W.W.Norton, 1988. 

The keyframe is a part of the inner wooden structure of the piano upon which the KEYS and the ACTION rest. The 
keyframe (called Schlitte in German) may slide in or out of the piano CASE for repair work on the KEYBOARD Or action. 



The keys of a piano are weighted wooden levers, between fourteen and sixteen inches in length, that a player presses to 
produce sound. The playing end of a key is usually covered with IVORY, EBONY, or plastic, while the remainder of the key 
is of natural wood and hidden from view by the FALLBOARD. 



The keyslip is a removable wooden strip that extends the full front width of the piano, just under the KEYS, and is intended 
to cover the KEYFRAME. It is stained to match the piano's casework. 



The American piano and organ building firm of Kimball was founded by William Wallace Kimball (b. Rumford, Maine, 22 
March 1828; d. Chicago, 16 December 1904). Kimball had no particular interest in music, having instead spent time as a 
teacher, insurance salesman, and real estate agent before his entry into the field that was to be his life's work. The company 
was founded in 1857 when Kimball traded a parcel of land in Decorah, Iowa, for four Grovesteen and Truslow 
SQUARE PIANOS and set up a retail business in the corner of a jewelry store at 51 South Clark Street in Chicago, under the 
name of W.W.Kimball and Company. Kimball's ability as a promoter became obvious as the business prospered despite a 
depressed economic climate. In 1864 he took sales rooms in the prestigious Crosby Opera House at 63 Washington Street. 
Pianos offered for sale included J. & C.Fischer, CHICKERING, Hallet & Davis, F.C.Lighte, and Emerson pianos, as well as 
the commercial pianos introduced by Joseph P.Hale (fl. 1860-1890). All of these instruments were produced by East Coast 


Fig. 45. A set of keys rests on the keyframe prior to being installed in an upright. Photo by Elaine Richards Hellmund. Courtesy Whelpdale, 
Maxwell & Codd. 

makers. The reed organ was as popular as the piano and sold for considerably less, often being used by dealers as an 
introductory instrument leading to the later sale of a more expensive piano. Organs sold by Kimball included the Taylor and 
Farley, Smith American, and Shoninger makes. The business continued to prosper but its progress was cut short by the 
Chicago fire of 1871, in which all of Kimball's holdings were destroyed. Though the firm suffered losses in excess of $100, 
000, Kimball set up operations in his home, and by the end of the decade sales had been posted in excess of 1 million. 

Kimball felt increasingly limited by his dependence on eastern sources for his goods, since deliveries were not always 
timely nor supplies adequate. Accordingly, he made moves to produce instruments of his own, concentrating at first on reed 
organs. The first instruments had ACTIONS built by the J. G.Earhuff Company, with CASES made by outside contractors and 
the completed organs assembled in the Kimball repair shops. In 1880 production began of instruments built entirely by 
Kimball. In 1882 a 96,000-square-foot factory was built for the manufacture of reed organs, and the company was soon 
producing fifteen thousand instruments annually, making Kimball the world's largest organmaker. It was also in 1882 that the 
firm was incorporated, with Kimball, his brother-in-law Albert Cone (d. 1900), and Edwin S. Conway as principals. 

For the reasons noted above, Kimball soon felt the need to produce his own pianos. In addition, it was felt that he could 
produce instruments of as good or better quality at a lower price than the East Coast makers. In 1887 a five-story building 
adjoining the organ factory was begun, and in 1888 piano production was commenced, five hundred instruments being 
produced the first year. The first pianos were less than satisfactory, and innovations instituted by a technician named Guricke, 
and ex-employee of STEINWAY, and Peter Tapper, who had been trained in the BECHSTEIN factory, brought about 
significant improvements in quality. These improvements doubtless were instrumental in enabling Kimball to receive high 
honors at the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago from May to November 1893. There was considerable 
antagonism between the East Coast makers and those of Chicago, and several leading eastern makers, including Steinway, 
declined to exhibit on the grounds that favoritism would be shown to local firms. Much of the dispute was caused by 
differences in philosophy. Whereas the older makers tended to depend on name and reputation to sell pianos, Kimball's 
success hinged on aggressive sales techniques and a thorough monitoring of the cost of each item and process that went into 


an instrument. This resulted in lower prices, which further exacerbated the dispute. In addition to numerous sales rooms, 
Kimball kept thirty-five to forty salesmen on the road to seek business in the most remote areas. 

In 1890 a pipe-organ department was added under the supervision of Frederic W.Hedgeland, who had been trained in his 
family's organworks in England. Kimball's first entry into the pipe-organ field was a novel "portable" instrument, hardly 
larger than an UPRIGHT PIANO. The largest model had two manuals and pedals. Free reeds were utilized for the pedal 
stops. In the first half of the twentieth century, Kimball produced several notable organs in the Chicago area, undertook the 
rebuilding of the Mormon Tabernacle organ at Salt Lake City (1901), and constructed a large instrument for the Municipal 
Auditorium at Pretoria, South Africa. Pipe-organ manufacture ceased in 1942 with a total of 7,326 having been built. Reed- 
organ production, once a mainstay of the company, was halted in 1922 after 403,390 organs had been produced. 

The company was also active in the field of automatic piano-playing devices, their first being the "Artist Mechanism" of 
1901. A PUSH-UP device attachable to any piano, it was superseded in 1904 by a newly designed self-contained mechanism. 
In contrast to many other firms that employed mechanisms built by independent suppliers, Kimball built its own, although the 
WELTE Licensee reproducing mechanism built by the Auto Pneumatic Action Company of New York was also used. In 1895 
Kimball founded a subsidiary, the Whitney Piano and Supply Manufacturing Company, to build piano actions for the trade. 
The latter part of the plan was never carried out, the Whitney name instead being applied to a piano manufactured by Kimball 
for the medium-priced market. Another piano, the Hinze, was intended for the low-priced market. From 1915 to 1925 
Kimball also manufactured a highly successful phonograph perfected by Albert A. Huseby, an employee since 1894. 

Throughout its history the Kimball firm was aided in its growth by the utilization of family members, although Edwin 
S.Conway, an employee since 1876 and later vice president, was unrelated. Kimball's brother-in-law Albert Cone eventually 
became treasurer. In 1883 Kimball's nephew, Wallace W.Lufkin, joined the firm, eventually becoming president, as did 
another nephew, Curtis N.Kimball (d. 1936). On his death he was succeeded by Lufkin, who died in 1945. In that year, 
W.W.Kimball, Jr., a great nephew of the founder and son of C.N.Kimball, became president. Despite adverse conditions 
occasioned by the depression, the firm succeeded, but due to an overly conservative outlook, Kimball was reluctant to build 
the popular small pianos, particularly the thirty-seven-inch SPINETS, which aided other firms in their recovery. During 
World War II Kimball produced aircraft parts for Boeing, Lockheed, and Douglas. After the war Kimball resumed production 
but was unable to regain an adequate share of the market. W.W.Kimball, Jr., then president, made a number of unfortunate 
decisions that helped edge the company toward insolvency. Lufkin' s heirs exerted pressure to retire their sizable stock 
hold ings, and in 1948 Kimball borrowed heavily and in 1956 sold property to buy them out. At the same time, in spite of the 
dismal financial situation, a lavish new plant was built in Melrose Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, at a cost of two million 
dollars. The new plant proved inefficient and inoperable, and this, coupled with labor problems and a lack of sales and 
marketing direction, brought the company to the brink of insolvency by 1958. In 1959 the company was acquired by the 
Jasper Corporation of Jasper, Indiana, a manufacturer of cabinets and office furniture, and in 1961 the firm was moved to 
Jasper. The Jasper firm, headed by Arnold Habig, had no previous experience in piano building and had to begin from the 
ground up. Initially quality was a problem, and three out of every five instruments were returned to the factory. With effort 
and experience quality was improved , and in 1966 Kimball acquired the prestigious Viennese firm of B6-SENDORFER (est. 
1828), incorporating some of that firm's features and techniques in its own instruments. Realizing that the name Kimball had 
far more currency with the public at large than did Jasper, in the mid-seventies the name of the firm was changed to Kimball 

About 1960 Kimball attempted to enter the electronic-organ market with instruments utilizing the photoelectric principle in 
which photoelectric cells "read" waveforms from revolving discs. The instruments proved impractical, and subsequent organs 
used tones generated by twelve oscillators subject to frequency division. In 1980 Kimball purchased certain elements of the 
C.G.Conn Corporation to form a new company named Conn Keyboards. In the same year Kimball acquired the KRAKAUER 
Piano Company (est. 1869) and operated it as a separate facility until its closure in 1985. In 1984 Kimball introduced a line of 
electronic organs using computerized technology and capable of greatly expanded tonal possibilities. Kimball also owned the 
British firm of Herrburger Brooks, suppliers of Schwander and Langer actions. The keyboard division of the firm became 
known as the Kimball Piano and Organ Company and, later, Kimball Keyboard Products. 

Kimball produced grand pianos in 4-foot 5-inch, 5-foot 2-inch, 6-foot 7-inch, and 9-foot models, the 9-foot grand being 
made at Kimball's Bosendorfer division in Vienna, Austria. Upright models included a 42-inch console and a 46-inch studio 
piano; the Kimball Company refused to build spinets, considering them a short term fad, an attitude which cost the company 
dearly and threw business into the hands of its competitors. Through the Jasper- American Manufacturing Company, Kimball 
produced inexpensive console pianos under various names as well as STENCIL PIANOS in Kimball's plant in Reynosa, 
Mexico. Names under which pianos were manufactured include Kimball, Conn, Jasper-American, W.W.Kimball, Hinze, 
Harrison, DeVoe & Sons, Dunbar, Whittaker, Becker, La Petite, Krakauer, Schuerman, and perhaps others. 

In 1996 Kimball ceased making pianos in response to a depressed market and the lack of demand for pianos in general, and 
specifically, for the lower-priced furniture-style models that formed the bulk of the company's output. GRAND PIANO 
production was halted first, and for a short period Kimball vertical pianos were manufactured by Baldwin, with only the cases 


and final assembly left to Kimball for completion. When Kimball halted its piano production completely in 1996, it sold its 
piano-making machinery and divested itself of its Herrburger-Brooks piano action division. 

The Bosendorfer Division in Austria was unaffected by these changes and is still a part of Kimball International, which has 
diverse interests in furniture, cabinetry for the trade, electronics and plastics. 



Armstrong, Durrell. Player Piano Co ., Inc. 1976-1977 Catalog. Wichita, Kansas: Player Piano Co. 1977. 
Bowers, Q.David. Encyclopedia of . lutoinatic Musical Instruments. Vestal, N.Y.: The Vestal Press, 1972. 
Bradley, Van Allen. Music for the Millions. Chicago: Henn Reunen Company, 1957. 
"Conn Keyboards Inc. to Make Full Line." The Music Trades 128 (July 1980): 22, 24. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover Publications, 1972. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 

"How Kimball Ticks Without Time Clocks." The Music Trades 127 (September 1979): 86-94. 
"Kimball's 125 Year Saga." The Music Trades 130 (October 1982): 46-52, 54, 96. 

"Kimball Vows to Lead Industry With New Organs, Olympic Promo." The Music Trades 132 (July 1984): 104-5. 
"Kimball Pianos R I P." The Music Trades (April 1996): 36, 38. 

The New Grove Dictionary <>f Musical Instruments, lidiied b\ Sianle) Sadie. S.v. "Electronic Instruments" "Kimball." London: Macmillan; 

Washington, D.C.: Grove's Dictionaries, 1984. 
Ochse, Orpha. The History of the Organ in the United States. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1975. 

For more than a century and a half, the Kirkman family was renowned as a London manufacturer of harpsichords and 
pianofortes. Jacob Kirchmann (b.Bischweiler near Strasbourg, Alsace, 4 March 1710; d. Greenwich, London, 9 May 1792), 
was of Swiss extraction and trained as a cabinetmaker. He moved to London sometime around 1730, where his name was 
anglicized to Kirckman, and apprenticed himself to Hermann Tabel, a Flemish harpsichord maker who had brought to London 
the tradition of the Ruckers family of Antweip. Tabel worked from his house in Oxendon Street "over against thxe Black 
Horse in Piccadily [sic]." Ultimately, Jacob Kirckman became his foreman. Another of Tabel' s apprentices was Burkat 
SHUDI (Burkardt Tschudi). Tabel's work would probably be forgotten now were it not for his two eminent apprentices. Only 
one of Tabel's harpsichords is known today. 

On the death of Hermann Tabel in 1738, the business passed to his second wife, Susanna Virgoe. A month later, the twenty- 
eight-year-old Jacob Kirckman proposed to Susanna over breakfast and married her before midday, securing with his new 
wife the large stocks of seasoned timber and stock-in-trade. Jacob Kirckman carried on the business "at sign of the King's 
Anus in Broad Street, Carnaby Market," later renumbered 19 Broad Street, Soho. Their marriage was short lived: two years 
later Susanna died, leaving her husband to continue with an increasingly prosperous business. 

Meanwhile, Shudi, eight years older than Jacob Kirckman, had left Tabel's business by 1728, when he built his first 
harpsichord. Kirckman and Shudi (who later founded the house of BROADWOOD) were to become arch business rivals in the 
years that followed. When Shudi developed the "Venetian swell" for the harpsichord, Kirckman retaliated with the 
introduction of the so-called Nag's Head swell on his instruments. At peak, Kirckman was making forty harpsichords a year. 
The last was turned out in 1809, by which time pianofortes were the mainstay of the business. Kirck-man's instruments were 
more expensive than Shudi 's, since Shudi indulged in price- (and quality-) cutting to boost his sales. 

With no male descendants, Jacob Kirckman took into partnership Abraham Kirchmann (b.Bischweiler, 2 June 1737; d. 
Hammersmith, Middlesex, April 1794) son of his half brother. Extant Jacob Kirckman SQUARE PIANOS date back to 
around 1770 ("Jacob Kirckman," 60 notes, GG to g 3 , minus GG-sharp) and 1775 ("Jacob and Abraham Kirckman," 59 notes, 
GG to f 3 ). When Jacob Kirckman died in June 1792 he left a fortune claimed to be worth £200,000. Abraham worked with his 
own son Joseph (the Elder) from 1789 up to his death at the age of fifty-seven in 1794. 

An interesting example of an early Joseph Kirck-man square piano, dated 1797, has its sixty-eight key-levers (on a single 
KEYFRAME) compressed in the space of the more usual sixty-one. Two GRAND PIANOS, in period and outward 
dimensions very similar, one from 1798 (private ownership, formerly in the Haags Gemeente-museum, Netherlands), the other 
undated (Mobbs Keyboard Collection, Bristol, U.K.), have nevertheless important differences, suggesting progressive 
experimentation and development: (1) although both have c 2 at 28.2 cms, the Bristol example has shorter vibrating lengths in 
the top octave; (2) the ratio of sounding length to HAMMER striking distance averages 9.1 (Bristol) as against 10.4 (The 
Hague); (3) the grain of the Bristol SOUNDBOARD runs parallel to the SPINE, the 1798 example is diagonal. A particularly 
long grand (257.2 cms) of 1806 also has diagonal soundboard grain and in addition features a baffle or dust-cover of 
parchment stretched on a wooden FRAME, masking all but the top octave of the seventy-three-note compass. 


By 1803 Kirckman was "Maker to Her Majesty" (by 1809 the "c" was dropped from the family name [Kirkman]), and by 
1816 royal patronage was extended to that of the Prince Regent. A PATENT (English no. 4,068) was obtained by the 
company in 1816 for "applying an octave stop to pianofortes." An instrument with this feature is in the Colt Clavier 
Collection, Bethersden, United Kingdom. 

Joseph Kirkman and Son (Joseph the Younger) of Soho Square and Dean Street exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, 
showing four instruments: (1) a seven-octave, full grand pianoforte, "with repetition ACTION"; (2) the "Fonda" semigrand 
pianoforte; (3) a trichord oblique piccolo UPRIGHT with metal bracing bars; and (4) a working miniature bichord grand (38 
inches long and 27 inches wide). Interestingly, the repetition action (of the seven-octave grand) was favored by a contributor 
to The Crystal Palace and Its Contents over that of ERARD. A Fonda grand (no. 8682, ca. 1856) with "Kirkman's Repetition 
Touch" reveals nothing more than what Broadwood had used in the 1 840s: that is, the addition to each JACK of an angled metal 
loop so arranged that the back of the hammer BUTT nudges it as the KEY is released, thus helping the jack to return. 

In 1779 it was one of Kirkman's harpsichords (inscribed "Jacobus Kirckman fecit Londini/1779" on the nameboard) that 
JOHN JOSEPH MERLIN converted by building in a piano action. This action, numbered eighty-nine, is inscribed "Josephus 
Merlin Privilegiarius Novi Forte Piano No. 89 Londini/1779" on the fall-board. It may be surmised that many of Merlin's 
conversion instruments may have been original Kirckman harpsichords although too few survive for this to be a certainty. 
Clinkscale lists just one. Of the instruments marked Jacob and Abraham Kirckman some seven survive, while those signed 
Joseph Kirckman extend to fourteen. 

Jacob Kirckman profoundly influenced English piano makers, and his methods quickly spread not just through the 
members of his own family but to contemporary London makers of first harpsichords and then pianos. At the peak of its piano 
production, the Kirk-man business was one of the top three producers in London: in 1870 the business made one thousand 
instruments. Ten years later the total was nine hundred, and in 1890 no fewer than thirteen hundred were turned out. Joseph 
Kirkman's son, Joseph the Younger (ca. 1790-1877), continued the business until his own death at the age of eighty-seven. It 
was Joseph the Younger who introduced the regular manufacture of the pianoforte to the business. 

The final Joseph Kirkman, born in 1822, lived until 1896. There then being no male descendant, the only relative, a 
daughter, sold the business to COLLARD at cost, on the understanding that Collard would maintain its standing. Collard did 
so until that business in turn was taken over by CHAPPELL forty years later. 



Boalch, Donald H. Makers of the Harpsichord & Clavichord, 1440-1840. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 2d ed. 1974. 
Clinkscale, Martha N. Makers of the Piano. Vol. 1 , 1 700-1820. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. 

. Makers of the Piano. Vol . 2, 1820-1860. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. 

Colt, C.F., and Antony Miall. The Early Piano. London: Stainer and Bell, 1981 . 

The Crystal Palace and Its Contents, an Illustrated Cyclopaedia of the Great Exhibit ion of 1851. London: W.M.Clark, 1852. 

LLrlich, Cyril. The Piano: A History. London: Dent, 1976. 

Galpin Society. Made for Music. Exhibition Catalog (no. 188), 1986. 

Gleich, Clemens von. A Checklist of Pianos. Musical Instrument Collection. Haags Gemeentemuseum, I9S6. 
Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians. 1st cd. Edited by Sir George Grove, 1879. 
Grover, David S. The Piano: Its Story from Zither to Grand. London: Hale, 1976. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Mactaggart, Peter, and Ann Mactaggart, eds. Musical Instruments in the 1851 Exhibition. Welwyn: Mac and Me, 1986. 

The New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press; Washington D.C.: Grove's 
Dictionaries, 1984. 

Patents for Inventions. Abridgements of Specifications Relating to Music and Musical Instruments. London, 1871. Facs. London: Tony 
Bingham, 1984. 

Rose, Malcolm, and David Law. A Handbook of Historical Stringing Practice for Keyboard Instruments. Lewes, East Sussex: Rose, 1991. 
Reprint 1995. 

Wainwright, David. Broadwood by Appointment: A History. London: Quiller Press, 1982. 

Current usage of the term Klavier in German-speaking countries refers to the piano and often distinguishes the UPRIGHT 
[Pianino] from the GRAND [FliigelJ. Klavier (or Clavier) comes from the Latin clavis (key), claves (pi.) being KEYS that 
are assigned specific PITCHES. The term originally referred to the organ but was maintained for the KEYBOARD applied to 
STRINGS. In the mid-nineteenth century, Klavier might describe the organ, SPINET, harpsichord, or pianoforte. Confusion 
arising from this ambiguity led to arguments as to whether J.S.BACH'S Das Wohltemperierte Klavier should be performed on 


the harpsichord or clavichord. CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH used Klavier in its modern sense: "When one speaks of 
the Klavier one thinks above all of the pianoforte" (1753: "Versuch iiber die wahre Art das Klavier zu spielen"). 



Closson, Ernst. History of the Piano. London: Paul Elek, 1947. 
Ernst, Friedrich. Der Flugel Joh. Seb. Bachs. Frankfurt: C.F. Peters, 1955. 
Wolters, Klaus. Das Klavier. Bern: Hallwag, 1975. 

The distinguished American piano maker Knabe & Company was founded at Baltimore in 1839 by Valentine Wilhelm 
(William) Knabe (3 June 1803-21 May 1864). Born in Kreuzburg, Germany (now Kluczbork, Poland), Knabe was 
apprenticed to a cabinet and piano maker in Meiningen. In 1833 he came to Baltimore, where he worked for the piano maker 
and inventor Henry Hartye. 

In 1839 Knabe formed a partnership with Henry Gaehle, manufacturing pianos under the name Knabe & Gaehle. In 1853 
the firm displayed two pianos at the New York Exhibition. Knabe bought Gaehle's interest in 1854 and continued making 
pianos with his sons Ernest J.(1837-1894) and William II (1841-1889). Later his son-in-law Charles Keidel was added to the 
partnership. By 1860 the Knabe Company had established itself as one of the finest piano makers in the country. 

Before the outbreak of the Civil War, Knabe pianos dominated the Southern market, owing in part to the growing antipathy 
for articles manufactured in the North. The Civil War destroyed the market, and the stress and worry during the war years led 
ultimately to the death of the founder in 1864. His two sons continued the family business and built up a flourishing trade 
after the Civil War. William ran the factory while Ernest redesigned GRAND and UPRIGHT stringing SCALES and assumed 
the responsibility for restoring finances. 

The post-Civil War period was one of considerable growth and prosperity for the Knabe company. In 1 870 approximately five 
hundred pianos were manufactured, but by 1890 annual production had quadrupled to two thousand instruments. Salesrooms 
were established in New York and Washington, D.C., while new factories, equipped with the most modern machinery, were 
built in order to keep up with growing demand. Knabe pianos were greatly admired during this period, winning numerous 
prizes. At the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia (1876), a Knabe CONCERT GRAND was particularly admired. In 1879 
the Japanese government imported Knabe pianos for use in the public schools. The distinguished conductor and piano 
virtuoso Hans von Biilow used Knabe pianos exclusively during his North American tour in 1889. Many other famous artists, 
including Saint-Saens, Busoni, and Arthur Rubinstein, were enlisted by the Knabe company, which also sponsored 
Tchaikovsky's appearance as guest conductor to open Carnegie Hall in New York in 1891. On 23 May 1891, the Music 
Trades magazine observed: "Ernest Knabe will entertain Tschaikowsky, the Russian composer, on his visit to Baltimore." 
Tchaikovsky wrote a glowing testimonial praising the Knabe piano for its "rare sympathetic and noble tone color, and perfect 
action." After the early death of the founder's two sons, the company was run by William's grandsons, Ernest J.Knabe Jr. (7 
July 1869-?) and William Knabe III (23 March 1872-1939). 

In 1908 the Knabe Company was one of the first piano makers, together with CHICKERING and MASON & HAMLIN, to 
be absorbed by the AMERICAN PIANO COMPANY, founded by George C.Foster and W.B.Armstrong. Although Ernest 
J.Knabe, Jr., was elected president and William Knabe III vice president, the two brothers withdrew from the conglomerate in 
1909 and organized the short-lived Knabe Brothers Company (1909-1914) in Norwood, Ohio. 

The popularity of Knabe pianos continued to grow after the takeover by the American Piano Company; in 1916 annual 
production grew to three thousand instruments. The Knabe was selected as the official piano of the Metropolitan Opera in 
1926. After the bankruptcy and subsequent reorganization of the American Piano Company, Knabe became part of the 
AEOLIAN American Corporation in 1932. The Knabe company ceased manufacture after the bankruptcy of the Aeolian 
American Corporation in 1985, and the Knabe name then passed to South Korean piano maker YOUNG CHANG, which 
manufactured Knabe pianos at its factories in South Korea and Tianjin, China. In December 2001 the Knabe piano line was 
bought by SAMICK Music Corp. Samick planned to reintroduce the Knabe piano in January 2003, basing their specifications 
on early examples of Baltimore -built Knabes. 



Baltimore Clipper & Baltimore Daily Gazette (14 November 1864). 
Dictionary of tine , hy, S 1 i '< il min Willi Im i ud i 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. 2 vols. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 191 1. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 


Palmieri, Robert, Letter from Bob Jones, Exec. V.P. and General Manager, Samick Music Corp., 15 April 2002. 

Spillane, Daniel. History of the American Pianoforte: Its Technical Development and the Trade. New York: D.Spillane, 1 890. Reprint. New 
York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

The knuckle is the portion of the grand HAMMER shank that is lifted by the JACK, causing the hammer to strike the 
STRING. It is usually made of FELT covered with buckskin. 
See also Actions 



In 1896 Charles Kohler (1868-1913) and John Calvin Campbell (1864-1904) formed a partnership in New York City. 
Within the next fourteen years their firm produced over 120,000 pianos and became one of the world's leading manufacturers 
of UPRIGHT, GRAND, and PLAYER PIANOS, and automatic REPRODUCING actions. By 1916 Kohler & Campbell 
Industries (as the parent corporation was called) had become one of the most powerful holding companies in the trade, 
controlling almost two dozen brand names. Annual production and sales ranked among the highest in the entire business. 

Kohler, who according to ALFRED DOLGE had a "remarkable talent as a factory organizer and businessman," and 
Campbell, whom Dolge called a "mechanical genius" who scientifically studied piano construction, began making Kohler & 
Campbell pianos in a loft on West Fourteenth Street in New York City (an area then called "Piano Row"). By 1900 consumer 
demand for their instruments required expanding to a six-story building at Fiftieth Street and Eleventh Avenue, eventually 
occupying over one million square feet of floor space. After Campbell's death in 1904, Kohler continued as sole owner, 
organizing the firm into a big business with enormous output and pioneering in the manufacture of pneumatic and electric 
player actions. 

When he died in 1913, Kohler left eleven successful subsidiaries. His Republic Player Roll Corporation manufactured 
perforated rolls. Almost every major piano manufacturer bought player actions from Kohler's ancillary Auto-Pneumatic 
Action Company and Standard Pneumatic Action Company, which together produced more than fifty thousand actions 
annually. Significantly, the celebrated WELTE-Mignon reproducing-piano mechanism was manufactured under license by 
Auto-Pneumatic Action Company after World War I. Among the distinguished piano firms Kohler & Campbell Industries 
acquired and continued to produce were Behr Brothers, HAZELTON BROTHERS, Francis Bacon Piano Company (which 
owned the historic John Jacob ASTOR trademark), Milton Piano Company, Davenport-Treacy, A.M.McPhail, and Waldorf 
piano companies. 

Julius A.White, Kohler's son-in-law, consolidated much of the corporation's operations when he assumed directorship 
some time after he joined the firm in 1921. During the 1920s Kohler & Campbell Industries acquired Behning Piano 
Company, Bjur Brothers, Brambach Piano Company, Gordon and Sons, Stulz and Bauer, and Kroeger Piano Company. 
Eventually, the firm controlled more than fifty brand names. After World War II, Kohler & Campbell moved into a larger, 
more modern factory in the Bronx. In 1954 the entire manufacturing facility was moved to Granite Falls, North Carolina; 
production focused on the Kohler & Campbell brand name. Still controlled by descendants of founder Charles Kohler, the 
corporation underwent major expansions and factory modernizations in 1961- 1963, 1968-1969, 1974, 1976, and 1980. But 
the 198 proved difficult for many time -honored piano companies. In 1985 the family elected to suspend manufacturing while 
negotiating an ownership change. 

In 1990 Sherman Clay and Company, America's oldest and leading piano dealer, acquired the trademark, which licensed 
production to SAMICK Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company (South Korea), for exclusive U.S. distribution through 
Sherman Clay. The resulting popularity of the reintroduced brand persuaded Samick to purchase trademark outright in 1995. 
As part of Samick, purportedly the largest acoustic piano manufacturer in the world (in 2002), Kohler & Campell pianos are 
produced in accordance with the Japanese Industrial Standard, Korean Industrial Standard, and ISO 9000, and is the first 
musical instrument company awarded TUV ISO 9001 Certification. Samick's 1996 Chapter 11-type bankruptcy, which 
resulted in the parent company divesting itself of its nonmusic subsidiaries, has not affected piano production nor U.S. 
distribution of its instruments. Currently, entry-level Kohler & Campbell pianos (KC series verticals and KIG series grands) 
are made in Jakarta, Indonesia, with Korean-made KEYS, HAMMERS, ACTIONS, and PLATES, and with Indonesian-made 
SOUNDBOARDS and cabinets. Mid-range models (SKV verticals and SKG grands) are made in Incheon, South Korea. The 
upper-end "Millennium" series (KMV verticals and KFM grands), introduced in 1999 to compete with YAMAHA, KAWAI, 
BALDWIN, and SCHIMMEL, are also Korean made, but with German components: RENNER actions, Kluge keys, Renner 
or Abel hammers, and Klaus Fenner SCALE DESIGN. Samick Music Corporation, Samick's U.S. subsidiary and owner of 
the Kohler & Campbell brand, performs final TONE and action REGULATION as well as quality assurance in its California 




Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers: A Coinprcliensiyi History of llu of tin Piiino from the Monoehord to the Concert 

Grand Player Piano Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Jamaica Plain, Mass.: Brookside Press, 2000. See also his Annual Supplement to the Piano Book. 
Kohler & Campbell website ( kc/.) 

The Music Trades Corp. The Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. Englewood, N.J.: Music Trades Corp., annually. 
Ord-Hume, Arthur W.J.G. Player Piano: The History of the Mechanical Piano and How to Repair It. London: George Allen & Unwin, 

PianoNet, "Forum." This website of the National Piano Foundation hosts abundant resources, including a searchable 
"Forum Archive" in which piano technicians/experts address questions about piano brands, including Kohler & Campbell. 

Roehl, Harvey N. Player Piano Treasury: The Scraphook History of the Mechanical Piano in America as Told in Story, Pictures, Trade 
Journal Articles and Advertising. Vestal, N.Y.: The Vestal Press, 1961; 2d ed., 1973. 

Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America , 1890-1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989; 1991 . 

. Letter from Bob Jones, General Manager, Samick Music Corp., 22 March 2002. 

Samick Musical Instruments Company, ( Samick's home page, which hosts the "Samick Bulletin," a searchable forum 

archive regarding Samick brands, including Kohler & Campbell. 
I .S. International Trade Commission. Pianos: Economic and Competitive Conditions Affecting the U.S. Industry. Investigation no. 332- 

401. Publication 3196. Washington, D.C., May 1999. 

Korea's piano-manufacturing history has had a rather short span of about forty-five years. Nevertheless, since its inception 
the Korean piano industry has made unceasing efforts to improve its craftsmanship. Today the industry has rightly earned 
recognition for manufacturing pianos of high quality, and Korean piano products have made great inroads in domestic and 
foreign markets worldwide. 

Korea's piano industry apparently began in the mid-1950s with the founding of Chung Eum Company (founder: Se Joon 
Kim) in 1955. Another firm, Soodo Piano Manufacturing Company (founder: Joong Kyu Park), established in the late 1950s, 
was also an active participant. These two early UPRIGHT PIANO firms were short lived yet noted piano makers during the 
very early stages of the industry. The two firms were closed in 1971; however, by this time the other prominent Korean piano 
manufacturers, YOUNG CHANG and SAMICK, were already underway in achieving significant progress in commercial 

The first major phase of commercial production of pianos began in 1956 when Young Chang was founded (founder and 
chairman Jai-Sup Kim) and began assembling imported component parts into upright pianos. At that time the components 
were imported from various nations, England, Germany, United States, and Japan. In 1967 Young Chang signed an 
agreement with the Japanese piano maker YAMAHA to acquire technical assistance; this association lasted until 1975. In 
1968 Young Chang began manufacturing upright pianos and in 1971 began exporting them. Young Chang's production of 
GRAND PIANOS began in 1978. Young Chang's digital piano production began in May 1990 with the brand name 
"Bestiano." In June 1990 the company acquired KURZWEIL, the widely known American hitech electronic instrument 
maker, and in October 1990 began producing and exporting digital pianos with the brand name "Kurzweil." 

Since the founding of the firm, Young Chang's continuous efforts to expand and improve its production facilities have 
resulted in completion of the first Incheon factory in 1976, a foundry for piano PLATES in 1977, and the expansion of the 
first plant in 1979, along with the addition of a second Incheon plant in 1987. The Incheon plants are equipped with modern 
automation and technological devices and are exclusively used for piano production. In 1990 Young Chang produced 107,238 
uprights, 6,939 grands, and 1,340 digital pianos, and exported 23,635 uprights, 5,717 grands, and 594 digital pianos. For 
export some of their pianos were labeled "Weber," a brand name that had been secured by Young Chang in 1987 from the 
American piano-maker WURLITZER. 

With the founding of Samick (by chairman Hyo Ick Lee) in 1958 the industry swung into full production. In 1960 Samick 
began building its own upright pianos with the brand name "Horugel." In the early 1970s the brand name "Samick" was 
added and in 1973 the firm began using the "Samick" label exclusively. In September 1964 Samick shipped ten pianos to 
Hong Kong and thus became the first piano exporter in Korea. In 1970 Samick manufactured the first grand in Korea and in 
1987 produced the first Korean digital piano, thus marking the beginning of two more significant phases of the industry. Since 
its founding, Samick has worked consistently on the expansion and improvement of its production facilities, beginning with 
the two Seoul factories completed in 1963 and 1965, respectively. In 1971, with the completion of the Bupyeong plant in 
Incheon, Samick moved its guitar production division to the Bupyeong location; piano production facilities followed in 1973. 
More factories were built or expanded in the following years: an upright-piano plant in 1980, a grand-piano plant in 1983, a wood- 
processing plant in 1983, and a digital-piano plant in 1987, all of them provided with modern automation systems and hi-tech 
equipment. In 1990 Samick manufactured 107,326 uprights, 7,583 grands, and 7,959 digital pianos and exported 23,296 
uprights, 6,149 grands, and 3,350 digital pianos. 


Handok pianos, which ceased piano production in 1995, were manufactured by the Handok (Korean-German) Piano 
Manufacturing Company. Handok (president: Woon-Kwang Paek), founded in 1972, began by building piano components: 
ACTION and HAMMER heads. In 1974 Handok established a joint-venture enterprise with Saito Action Manufacturing 
Company in Hamamatsu, Japan, and manufactured actions exclusively for export. In 1976 Handok acquired an agreement for 
technical cooperation from German piano-maker SCHIMMEL and began building upright pianos of the German Shimmel 
models; the agreement with Schimmel expired in 1986. Handok produced only upright pianos, and its pianos were sold 
mainly on the export market. Up to 1989 Handok produced about two thousand pianos per year. However, the 1990- 1991 
production figures decreased to only about one thousand pianos because at that time the company was in the process of 
moving into a new plant. In 1995 Handok ceased its piano production entirely. 

Daewoo (president: Soon Hoon Bae) entered the piano industry in 1977 by its affiliation with Korean piano-maker, Saujin. 
Founded in 1972, Saujin had been producing guitars and in 1976 began building upright pianos. In 1979 Daewoo moved into 
the newly completed Yeoju plant, which had been under construction since 1977. In 1983 the production of grand pianos 
began and a new brand name, "Royale," came into use along with "Saujin." In 1983 Daewoo ceased production of guitars 
completely and started concentrating solely on piano production. The company began making digital pianos in 1989. In 1990 
Daewoo produced 13,452 uprights, 2,364 grands, and 2,120 digitals, and exported 9,050 uprights, 2,688 grands, and 391 
digitals. Daewoo began exporting pianos in 1983; "Sojin" (not Saujin), "Royal" and "Daewoo" are the brand names that were 
carried in the foreign markets. The label "Daewoo" was in use from 1990 until the firm closed its piano production lines in 

The rapid growth of the Korean piano industry from its infancy to the year 1990 is remarkable. For the twenty years of 
1971-1990 the Monthly Statistics of Korea (vols. 14-33; 1972-1991), published by Korea's National Statistical Office, shows 
an increase of figures from a total production of 5,722 pianos in 1971 to a production figure of 243,100 in 1990. The rapid 
growth of the industry coincided with the country's enormous economic development during this period. As their financial 
capacity grew richer more Koreans bought pianos for pleasure and/or for the musical education of their children. Moreover, 
from the early 1980s professional musicians and music schools began buying more Korean-made pianos, especially grands. 
By this time the grand pianos had greatly improved in their TONE qualities and playing mechanisms. The Korea Musical 
Instrument Industry Association roughly estimated (Association's Newsletter no . 81, 15 May 1991) that the distribution of 
pianos in Korea in 1985 was approximately one per seventy persons, but by the end of 1990 it had reached approximately one 
per thirty-seven persons, thus nearly doubling the distribution rate. 

During the 1990s Korea's piano industry underwent significant changes. In May 1995 Handok closed its piano production 
lines completely. In March 1998 Daewoo closed its piano production lines altogether, keeping only the digital piano "Veloce" 
production lines open. Also in March 1998 an independent firm, Veloce Company (president: Won-Mo Yang), was 
established by taking over Daewoo's digital piano production lines. In April 1999, with completion of its own digital piano 
plant in Yeoju, Veloce has become known as the leading producer and exporter of Korea' s digital piano industry. 

Meanwhile, in the 1990s Korean piano manufacturers began producing pianos outside of Korea. In 1991 Young Chang 
built a foundry plant abroad in Tianjin, China for piano FRAMES and in 1995, also in Tianjin, completed additional plants 
for full piano production. In 1992 Samick built a piano production plant in Jakarta, Indonesia. The products made in these 
plants located abroad are sold in their domestic markets as well as in foreign markets worldwide. 

Today, in 2001, Korea's piano industry is successfully led by three prominent firms: Young Chang, Samick, and Veloce. 
Young Chang and Samick both produce uprights, grands and digital pianos. Besides the main brand names of "Young Chang" 
and "Samick," various other names are currently used by these companies in both the domestic and international markets. Among 
the names used by Young Chang are "Weber," "Bergmann," and "Pramberger." Samick sells pianos under the name 
"KOHLER & CAMPBELL." The digital piano maker Veloce is gaining success producing and exporting digital pianos 
exclusively. In 2000 Young Chang produced 46,916 uprights, 6,134 grands, and 5,251 digitals and exported 5,669 uprights, 5, 
280 grands, and 3,149 digitals. Samick produced 34,835 uprights, 9,918 grands, and 9,500 digitals and exported 5,040 
uprights, 8,580 grands, and 1,403 digitals. Veloce produced 16,256 digital pianos and exported 11,955 of its products. 

The piano production and export figures of the year 2000 show a considerable decrease in numbers in comparison with 
those of the year 1990. The closing of the Daewoo and Handok piano firms, as well as Young Chang's and Samick's overseas 
production in China and Indonesia, have resulted in reduced piano production in domestic plants within Korea. Digital piano 
production and export, however, have both increased enormously. In the 1990s Korea's piano teaching communities, that is, 
schools and colleges, enthusiastically adopted group piano teaching methods, which resulted in the need for digital pianos. 
The ongoing rapid popularization of group piano teaching in Korea' s musical communities promotes the sales of digital 
pianos in the domestic market. 

Korea's piano firms are continuously striving to construct pianos of superior quality and have earned their current 
reputation worldwide as successful and outstanding piano makers. Their products have been awarded numerous prizes for 
their reputable qualities both within and outside of Korea and have earned great success both in domestic and international 
markets. They have won popularity in homes, schools, musical communities, and elsewhere. Korean-made pianos are 


exported to more than eighty nations on all continents. Both uprights and grands are built in many sizes and designs, very 
similar to those found in the traditional models of the Western hemisphere. Full-sized CONCERT GRANDS are built by 
Young Chang and Samick. The digitals built as uprights or grands are made in diverse models and perform many different 
functions. To satisfy the fast-growing demands for digital pianos in current trade markets, both domestic and foreign, Korean 
piano makers are intensifying their research on the development of digital pianos. 

Korea's piano industry is anticipating further expansion of the trade markets; as the middle-class population of Korea 
grows larger, and as music education in primary and secondary schools becomes more active, the domestic market is expected 
to utilize many more pianos. As for exports, Korean piano makers now face enormous challenges in promoting and advancing 
their product in the increasingly competitive international markets of the twenty- first century. 



Korea Musical Instrument Industry Association. Annual Statistical Report. July 1 99 1 and October 200 1 . 

Korea Musical instrument Industry Association. Newsletter. No. 81 (15 May 1991) and No. 49 (15 June 2001). 

Korea Musical Instrument Industry Association. Monthly Statistical Report. Vols. 201-6. January 2001-June 2001. 

National Bureau of Statistics, Economic Planning Board, Republic of Korea. Korea Statistical Yearbook. Vols. 19-37. 1972-1990. 

National Statistical Office. Republic of Korea. Annual Report on Monthly Industrial Production Statistics 199?. Ma\ 1996. 

. Republic of Korea. Annual Report on Monthly Industrial Production Statistics /99S. June 1999. 

. Republic of Korea. Korea Statistical Yearbook 1999. Vol. 46. December 1999. 

. Republic of Korea. Monthly Statistics of Korea. Vols. 12-33. 1970-1991. 


Korg USA is the American division of Korg Incorporated of Tokyo, Japan, a manufacturer of professional electronic 
musical instruments including the advanced Karma, Triton, Trinity, and MS series music workstations, the 21 digital 
SYNTHESIZER, and the SP100 series digital piano, among numerous sound-processing devices. Features of the SP100 
digital piano include eighty-eight full size, HAMMER-ACTION, velocity-sensitive KEYS, whose response can be 
customized by the user, and preset voices that include sampled acoustic and ELECTRONIC PIANOS, harpsichord, strings, 
and more. Other features include an onboard equalizer, digital chorus, stereo speakers, and full MIDI implementation. 



Korg USA website ( 

The Krakauer Piano Company was established by Simon Krakauer (b.Kissengen, Germany, 1816; d. 1905). Educated as a 
musician, he had a reputation as a noted teacher, conductor, and violinist. Immigrating to the United States in 1854, he began 
the manufacture of pianos in conjunction with his son David (1 848- 1 900). David Krakauer was the practical member of the firm, 
having worked in the shops of A. H. Gale, Kind and Gruber, and Haines Brothers, as well as other New York makers. In 1869 
at the age of twenty-one he began piano making in a small way, at the same time opening a retail store in the Bowery district 
of New York. He was joined earlier by his brother Julius, a talented pianist and violinist with the Theodore Thomas orchestra. 
In 1878 he was joined by his brother Daniel, at the same time leasing a small factory and opening warerooms on Union 
Square and changing the name to Krakauer Brothers. 

The firm was incorporated in 1903, David Krakauer having died in 1900 and his father following in 1905. In 1900 I.E. 
Bretzfelder, son-in-law of Julius Krakauer, acquired an interest in the firm and became its president. By 1926 the firm had 
grown to include a seven-story factory that covered an entire block on Cypress Street between 136th and 137th Streets in New 
York City. The family predilection for music of the highest artistic nature was reflected in the firm's pianos, and it was the 
company's ambition to produce instruments of the highest quality. 

The company remained in family hands until 1977, when it was acquired by Howard Graves, an engineer with an ambition 
to build pianos. The plant was moved to the small Amish town of Berlin, Ohio, in order to take advantage of the low-cost but 
high-quality work force. The cost of starting a company, coupled with the financial recession prevailing at the time, proved 
prohibitive, and in 1980 the company was sold to KIM-BALL, Graves being retained as manager. The factory was operated 
separately from that of Kimball, and much higher standards were maintained. The company produced a hand-crafted forty- 
one-inch CONSOLE utilizing a Schwander ACTION, with meticulous care given to the CASE and FINISH. Kimball closed 
the Krakauer plant in 1985, citing adverse market conditions. The Krakauer name was still owned by Kimball until 1996, 
when the Kimball Company halted piano production. At that time the Krakauer name and manufacturing equipment were sold 


to the Artfield Piano Company, a relatively recent Chinese piano-making firm. Some former Kimball personnel and others 
associated with Kimball are said to be aiding the company in merchandising activities in the United States. 

Krakauer pianos are built in both American furniture style as well as European style cabinets. Only vertical pianos are 
produced: two 43-inch console pianos in each of the styles noted above, as well as uprights in 48-inch, 48 3 /4-inch, and 50-inch 
models. Aside from the "Krakauer," the company also produces the "Conn," one of the names previously used by Kimball, as 
well as private label instruments. The Conn is offered as a lower-cost, or entry-level instrument. Krakauer and Conn pianos 
are currently made by the Art-field Piano Company, Qing Pu, China and are available in the United States. 



Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 

Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 10th ed. Albuquerque, N.M.: Larry E.Ashley, 1997. 

Presto Buyers ' Guide to Pianos, Player Pianos, and Reproducing Pianos and Their Manufacturers, 1926. Reprint. Seattle, Wash.: Frank 
Adams, n.d. 

Purchaser's Guide to the Music Industries. Englewood, N.J.: The Music Trades Corp., 2001. 

This American company of piano makers was established by Helmuth Kranich (b.Gross-Breitenbach, Germany, 22 August 
1833; d. New York, 1902) and Jacques Bach (b.Lorentzen, Alsace, 22 June 1833; d. New York, 1894). Kranich came from a 
musical family; his father, an organist of some note, placed him as an apprentice to a piano maker at an early age. He came to 
New York in 1851 at the age of eighteen, finding work with the piano-making firms of Bacon and Raven, Schomacker, and 
finally, STEINWAY & SONS, where he worked in the area of tone REGULATING for some five years. Jacques Bach, 
trained as a cabinet-maker, came to the United States at the age of twenty, finding work at the New York piano factory of 
Stodart and Morris in 1853. In April 1864 the two immigrants joined fifteen other aspiring piano makers to form the New 
York Pianoforte Company. Conceived as a co-operative venture, the firm did not succeed, and in 1866 six of the members 
withdrew under the leadership of Helmuth Kranich and Jacques Bach to form the firm of Kranich, Bach & Company. In 1890 
the firm was incorporated, with Frederick and Alvin Kranich, sons of Helmuth, and Louis P.Bach, son of Jacques, serving as 
directors and officers. On the death of Helmuth Kranich, his son Frederick became president, Jacques Bach Schlosser, vice 
president, Helmuth Kranich Jr., secretary, and Louis P.Bach, treasurer. By 1916 the company's capital stock was valued at 

The original Kranich & Bach piano was a high-quality instrument incorporating a number of improvements originated by 
its makers. The company also built a small GRAND PIANO of notable quality called the "Grandette." During the ascendency 
of the PLAYER PIANO, Kranich & Bach designed and built player actions specifically for use in their pianos, as well as 
utilizing the WELTE Mignon Licensee mechanism. In 1926 the company had factories and warerooms at 235-243 East Twenty- 
third Street, New York City, as well as warerooms at Michigan and Jackson Boulevards in Chicago. 

In later years the firm was acquired by the AEOLIAN Corporation, and pianos under the Kranich & Bach name were made 
until at least 1981. In 1985 Aeolian Corporation went out of business and was purchased by WURLITZER, with most of the 
names it controlled, as well as work in progress, equipment, and other resources, including the Memphis factory. 

In 1988 Wurlitzer was purchased by BALDWIN, including most of the names previously owned by Aeolian, among which 
was Kranich & Bach. First given the name J. & C.Fischer, the piano was made for Baldwin in China by the Beijing Piano 
Company, only later changing the name to Kranich & Bach. The piano, a forty-two-inch console (model WP 50) is no longer 
in production; it was merchandised by Baldwin's subsidiary Wurlitzer Division. 

Several years ago two small grands, the C141 (4-foot 7-inch), and the C156 (5-foot 1-inch) were built for Baldwin by the 
South Korean piano manufacturer SAMICK under the name Kranich & Bach. Pianos bearing the Kranich & Bach name were 
also built by the Canadian piano-making firm of Mason &Risch. Established in 1871, Mason & Risch was taken over by Winter 
& Company, became a part of Aeolian briefly, and ceased operations in 1972. The name Kranich & Bach is currently owned 
by Baldwin. 



Armstrong, Durrell. Player Piano Co. Inc. 1976-1977 Catalog. Wichita, Kansas: 1977. 

Dolge, Alfred. Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1911. Reprint. New York: Dover, 1972. 

Krakauer pianos . . . 

Undunlicated in Style, 
Unequalled in Tone, 

See and 




See these dramatically different 
superb instruments. 
Truly incomparable because from the 
Serenade to the Chateau 
no other manufacturer embodies 
Krakauer'' s unique styling. 

Family owned and managed since 1869. 


Factory: 115 East 138th St., New York City 

Fig. 46. Advertisement for Krakauer Bros. Piano Co., ca. 1940s. 

. Men Who Have Made Piano History. Vol. 2 of Pianos and Their Makers. Covina, Calif.: Covina Publishing Co., 1913. Reprint. 


Vestal, N.Y.: Vestal Press, 1980. 
Fine, Larry. The Piano Book. 4th ed. Boston: Brookside Press, 2001. 

Graham, Susan. "1991 NAMM Show." Piano Technicians Journal 34 (March 1991): 12-17. 

Music Product Directory. Acoustic piano ed. 6 (Spring/Summer 1991): 42. 

Pierce, Bob. Pierce Piano Atlas. 10th ed. Albuquerque, N.M.: Larry E.Ashley, 1997. 

Presto Buyers' Guide to Pianos, Player-Pianos and Reproducing Pianos and Their Manufacturers, 1926. Reprint. Seattle, Wash.: Frank 
Adams, n.d. 

Roell, Craig H. The Piano in America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. 

Spillane, Daniel. The History of the American Pianoforte. New York: D.Spillane, 1890. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1969. 

Kurzweil Music Systems of Waltham, Massachusetts, is an American manufacturer of digital pianos, KEYBOARDS, and 
tone generators that are based on digital sampling. Ray Kurzweil, the company's founder, gained prominence through the 
application of artificial intelligence to a computer reader for the blind. He went on to apply related techniques to digital sound 
sampling and processing. His first commercially available musical instrument was the K250, marketed in the mid-1980s — a 
high-end (up to $20,000) professional keyboard workstation that incorporated a SAMPLER integrated with SYNTHESIZER 
controls and a multitrack digital sequence recorder. Among the many outstanding features of the K250 was a group of piano 
samples that became an industry standard for quality. In attempts to broaden market share through more affordable and accessible 
products, Kurzweil designed a series of digital pianos using the signature sound along with the K1000 and K1200 series 
keyboard during the later 1980s. Financial difficulties led to the buyout of Kurzweil Music Systems by YOUNG CHANG 
America in 1990. 

Kurzweil digital pianos have been available in numerous product lines. The Ensemble Grande series, built in a 
contemporary CASE, featured twenty-four-note polyphony and a weighted, eighty-eight-note, velocity-sensitive keyboard 
(except for the entry-level EGP-K that had 76 keys). Ensemble Grandes featured one hundred preset sounds categorized as 
pianos, strings, choirs, vibes, basses, brass, woodwinds, organs, synths, and drums. Based on K250 sample sounds, these 
voices could be layered, assigned to various programmable splits, or could be used as a sixteen-part multitimbral tone 
generator. Ensemble Grande instruments incorporated two to six onboard speakers, appropriate amplification, standard pedal 
controllers, and full MIDI implementation. 

Another former product line, built in traditionally styled wood cabinets, included the G5-41 Modern Grand, the C5-46 
Console, and the M5-32 Spinet. Offering many of the same general features of the Ensem ble Grande series, these 
instruments were built with nineteen preset sounds that could be layered into thirty-six preset layers or combined into six 
preset splits. In addition, this series incorporated built-in reverb and effect units. Though not classified as a digital piano, the 
Kurzweil K1200 series was a significant professional sample playback/synthesizer. The K1200 was based on a twenty-four- 
voice, sixteen-channel multi-timbral module (similar to that in the digital pianos) that incorporated more voices and permitted 
much of the flexibility and programmability associated with a synthesizer. The K1200 was available in both eighty-eight-key 
and seventy-six-key models, as well as in a rackmount module. Added to the Kurzweil product line in the early 1990s was the 
K2000, a powerful synthesizer based on Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology (VAST). VAST was hailed by many as a 
major advancement in tone generation. 

Though it supports these product lines, Kurzweil has discontinued manufacturing them and now offers several new consumer 
and professional digital pianos. The high-end VI 10 and V150 digital pianos are built in a 3-foot 8-inch petite grand case and 
feature eighty-eight weighted keys, 437 sounds, 64-note polyphonicity, full General MIDI implementation, and the ability to 
split and layer sounds. The Mark 152 Digital Ensemble keyboard offers many of the same features plus surround- sound effect 
and 64-user editable accompaniment styles. Other digital pianos in the Kurzweil catalog include the Mark I, II, III, V, 3i, 6i, 
the M5, and the RG series. 



Young Chang website ( "Kurzweil." 



Laying touch is the term commonly used to describe the act of KEY leveling and key DIP adjustment. Laying touch can 
also describe the total adjustments of AFTERTOUCH, LET-OFF, and DROP in relation to key leveling and dip. 
See also Regulation; Touchweight 



In order to balance the piano ACTION and to provide a specified TOUCH weight, lead weights are inserted into holes 
drilled in the sides of piano KEYS and are secured in place by compression. In some instances the weights may be attached 
with screws to the top of the key. In GRAND PIANO actions the leads are almost invariably installed between the balance 
RAIL and the front of the key, while in vertical actions it may be necessary to install the lead between the balance rail and the 
back of the key. In no case should leads be installed on both sides of the balance rail. 

Another type of key lead, temporarily attached to the back of the keys during REGULATION of grand piano actions, is 
used to simulate the weight of the action stack while it is removed from the FRAME for key leveling. 



Leather — the prepared skin of an animal — was used in historical pianoforte building for various purposes. Of most 
importance was its use to cover HAMMER heads, hammer beaks (German ACTION), DAMPERS, and BACK CHECKS. 
The skins of sheep or lamb, goat or kid, calf, chamois, roe deer, or stag were prepared in various ways depending on the 
intended use. The first step in preparation was to remove the remains of flesh, fat, wool, or hair by soaking the skins in a 
solution containing chalk or ash. For the actual tanning process, three types of tannery were in use. 

For bark tanning the hides were put into an extraction of the bark or wood of oak, spruce, chestnut, or mimosa. Bark-tanned 
leather is of brown color, is quite even in texture, and becomes more fluffy through a final preparation with oil or fat. 

The tanning agent for alum tanning is a liquor of alum, salt, wheat-bran, and egg yolk mixed with water. Because of the 
light color of this leather, the production is called "white tannery." In contact with metals, corrosion may be caused by 
residues of salt. 

In oil tanning the tanning material is train oil of whale, seal, or cod. The leather is very soft and fluffy and does not cause 
rusting, so it was widely used for block dampers. Oil-tanned deer leather was in use in VIENNESE ACTION pianos for 
hammer heads until around 1930. Hammer leather of good quality should be strong as well as fluffy, so that it can be 
manipulated in order to achieve the desired TONE quality. 

See also Hammers 



Fischhof, Joseph. Versuch einer Geschichte des Clavierbaues. Vienna: Wallishausser, 1853. 

Harding, Rosamond E.M. The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 
1933. Reprint. New York: Da Capo Press, 1973; 2d ed. Old Woking, Surrey: Gresham Books, 1978. 

Latz, Karl, and Andrew D.Hypher. "Leather in Organ Build-ing." International Society of Organ Builders (Lauffen/Nekar: Rensch) (24 April 
1984): 5-12. 

Moog, Gerhard. "Untersuchung von Hammerledern aus der Zeit Mozarts bis Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts." InMozarts Hammerfliigel. Edited 

by Rudolph Angermiiller and Alfons Huber. Salzburg: Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum Eigenverlag, 2000:216-222. 
Technologische Enzyclopaedie. S.v. "Leder." Stuttgart: Cotta, 1833. 

\\ elcker \ on Gonlersliausen, Hans. Per Flugcl oder die Peseliaf/enlieii des Pianos in alien Formen. Frankfurt/Main, 1856. 



The family-run firm, Lesage Pianos Limited, was one of Canada's longest surviving piano companies, manufacturing 
instruments of elegant design for nearly one hundred years in the province of Quebec. 

Damase Lesage (d. 1923) established the company in Ste-Therese-de-Blainville, near Montreal, following his purchase of 
the assets of the Canadian Piano Company, owned by the Foisy family. A retired fanner and railway employee with no 
knowledge of the piano business, Lesage went into partnership with Procule Piche in 1892. The name Lesage & Piche was 
used until 1904, when Damase's son Adelard joined the business and it became Lesage & fils. 

During the 1900s Lesage produced about 500 pianos per year. Some of these were under the names of successful Quebec 
retailers, C.W.Lindsay and Willis Piano. The latter firm, turning its attention to manufacture, purchased the majority of 
Lesage shares about 1900. The partnership was not satisfactory to the Lesage family and in 1911 Adelard sold the remaining 
shares to Willis and started the new firm, A. Lesage (joined later by his sons, Jacques-Paul, Jules, and Gerard). 

Production increased and the factory was enlarged in 1916 and again in 1926. Lesage acquired three major piano- 
manufacturing firms: the Craig Piano Company of Montreal in 1930, Bell Piano and Organ of Guelph, Ontario, in 1934, and 
Weber Company of Kingston, Ontario, in 1939. It specialized in the manufacture of UPRIGHT PIANOS under the Lesage 
name as well as the brand names Bell, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Belmont. Some GRAND PIANOS were produced 
during the 1930s and 1940s and an ELECTRONIC PIANO during the 1970s. 

In 1942 the business adopted the name Lesage Pianos Limited/Pianos Lesage Limitee. The firm employed fifty to sixty 
people, and by 1950 it had pro duced some 30,000 pianos. Following that, production seems to have averaged between 1,500 
and 2,000 each year. Lesage pianos were known for their excellent sound, variety of design, and durability. For a time the 
pianos were exported to the United States, Europe, South America, and Asia. By 1970 distribution was limited to within 

Lesage was one of three remaining Canadian piano manufacturers when it was purchased in 1986 by the Toronto firm PSC 
Management, owned by Grant Clark. It had existed under family ownership and administration for eighty-five years. Despite 
plans to expand and improve marketing, the firm was closed in 1987. 

See also Canada — Piano Industry 



L'Ecuyer, Christian. "Le village de Stc-Thcrcsc dc Blainville, Quebec, et la Compagnie des Pianos Lesage Ltee." Master's thesis, Carleton 
University, 1980. 

The term let-off describes the point at which the piano HAMMER is no longer directly propelled by the WIPPEN and 
JACK. Manufacturers usually specify that the hammer travel under its own inertia the final one-eight to one-sixteenth inch of 
hammer travel. Let-off prevents the hammer from blocking against the vibrating STRING. 

See also Regulation 



The lid (or top) is the wooden top of the CASE, which when closed protects the interior of the instrument. It can be raised 
and propped to stay open with the LID PROP; in this position the sound of the instrument can radiate more freely. Certain 
period instruments had elaborate paintings on the underside of the lid. 



A holdover from harpsichord design, the lid prop, or propstick, supports the LID of the piano, directing the sound toward 
the audience. 


LISZT, FRANZ (1811-1886) 

Celebrated as a composer, pedagogue, and pianist par excellence, Franz Liszt was also interested in piano technology. 
During his long life he was intimately associated with several of Europe's and America's most important piano-makers, 
published testimonials on behalf of a variety of pianos, and experimented with unusual instruments. Most of his compositions 
for piano reflect his fondness for instruments of large scope, rich sound, and considerable flexibility. 

Although born in rural Austria-Hungary, Liszt spent much of his youth in Paris, where he developed a close personal and 
professional relationship with the Erard family, famous during the early nineteenth century for manufacturing excellent seven- 
octave pianos equipped with DOUBLE-ESCAPEMENT ACTION. During the late 1820s and 1830s Liszt performed 
regularly, although by no means exclusively, in the Erard showrooms; he also took Erard instruments with him on several 


tours, testified to the high quality of Erard pianos, and even published one or two early piano pieces with SEBAS-TIEN 
ERARD'S approval and financial support. The brilliant runs, trills, and repeated-note passages characteristic of Liszt's early 
virtuoso studies, paraphrases, and transcriptions may have been conceived with the sound of Erard instruments in mind. 
During his "transcendental" European tours of 1838-1847, however, Liszt performed on and provided testimonials for many 
other pianos. In Vienna, for example, he played regularly on GRAF and STREICHER instruments; in southern France, 
Portugal, and Spain he used Boisselot pianos; and in Germany he tried instruments manufactured by a dozen different firms, 
including Breitkopf & Hartel of Leipzig. 

Liszt's interest in particular pianos often combined admiration with expediency. In a letter addressed to Pierre Erard on 22 
April 1850, Liszt confessed that he considered it his duty "not to hinder the soaring of local and national [piano] industries." 
Consequently, he tried out many different kinds of pianos, especially during the 1840s, and his letters of praise for several of 
them were published and republished in newspapers and magazines around the world. Later in life Liszt grew less willing to 
provide testimonials on request, although he did not hesitate to express his admiration for BOSENDORFER instruments; he 
also wrote several testimonials for STEINWAY, CHICKERING, and Mason & Risch pianos. Visitors to the Altenburg 
(Liszt's home in Weimar during the 1850s) and to his apartments in Budapest during the 1870s and 1880s encountered pianos 
bearing the names of Erard, BECHSTEIN, Boisselot, Streicher, Bosendorfer, and even BROADWOOD — the last an 
instrument previously owned by BEETHOVEN during the last years of his life. 

Liszt was not an expert in piano engineering, but he was interested in technological innovations and always ready to put 
them to the test. He employed dumb keyboards as practice instruments during long voyages; he tried out pianos with bass 
PEDALS and encouraged their improvement; he wrote passages of music for the "armonipiano" (an instrument equipped with 
a pedal that produced tremolo effects); and he owned a COMBINATION piano-harmonium that belongs today to the 
Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. In his later years Liszt apparently came to prefer OVERSTRUNG to straightstrung 
pianos and, although fond of delicate effects both in his compositions and in performance, he often preferred to practice on 
instruments with unusually heavy actions. 

In certain respects Liszt's compositions for piano may be thought to reflect his experiences with different kinds of pianos. 
In his earliest original works he wrote music of limited scope and light texture — evidence, perhaps, of his experience with the 
"pre-Erard" instruments. His later works, especially those composed after the early 1860s, are much thinner in texture — 
again, perhaps, because the rich, even sound of metal-framed, overstrung instruments gave such music sufficient body and 
beauty of tone to satisfy him. In other respects, Liszt's spectacular piano writing — full of scales, arpeggios, octave passages of 
various kinds, cross-hands passages, thumb melodies, and other showy devices — made the best possible use of whatever 
instruments were available to him. In his most taxing works, however, he often provided "ossia" variants to simplify (if the 
performer so chooses) extraordinary difficulties; in many of his early works he even provided six-octave "ossie" for 
contemporary musicians unable (or unwilling) to make use of seven-octave instruments. 



Gabry, Gyorgy. "Das Klavier Beethovens und Liszts." Studia Musicologica, 8 (1966): 379-90. 

Keeling, Geraldine. "Liszt and Mason & Risch." In New Light on Liszt and His Music. Edited by Michael Saffle and James Deaville. 
Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1997:75-90. 

."The Liszt Pianos — Some Aspects of Preference and Technology." New Hungarian Quarterly 27/104 (Winter 1986): 220-32. 

."Liszt and J.B. Streicher. A Viennese Piano Maker." Studia Musicologica 27 (1986): 36-46. 

. "Liszt's Pianos: Annees de Pelerinage." Liszt Society Journal 10 (1985): 12-20. 

Pohl, Richard. "Letter from Thiiringia (Liszt's Piano-Harmonium). "Journal of the American Liszt Society 18 (1985):47- 51. 
Saffle, Michael. Franz Liszt: A Guide in Racitrch. New York: Garland, 1991. 

A living-room grand is a six- or seven-foot GRAND PIANO commonly found in an average-sized living room or small 
concert hall. 



Longman and Broderip was an important English firm of music publishers/retailers and instrument makers/ retailers in 
existence under the above names from 1776 to 1798, at number 26, Cheapside, London, and also (from 1782 or 1783) at 13, 
Hay Market. 

It is likely that the construction of the firm's keyboard instruments was subcontracted out: names on the back of 
NAMEBOARDS of surviving pianos include "Chris. 1 Ganer" (no number , ca. 1780); "Culliford (number not known, after 
1786); and "Mr. Rolfe" (no. 2093, ca. 1790). Number 358 has a signature "Loud 1796." 


Many SQUARE PIANOS with the firm's nameboard survive. A very early example (GG to f 3 , fifty-nine notes, 
unnumbered) has the name and address inked on an elongated oval boxwood insert. The sixty-note square number twelve (ca. 
1778, Smithsonian Institution) lacks the bottom FF-sharp, as was often the case at this time. Normally, squares up to 1794 are 
sixty-one notes in compass, FF to f 3 , with three hand stops, two of which separately control treble and bass damping, the third 
operating a buff stop that brings up a layer of LEATHER to touch very close to the ends of the STRINGS. Occasionally, as in 
the "Ganer" example above, or in another (ca. 1790, no number), there is provision for a pedal-operated lid swell, raising a 
LID flap to the right of the instrument. 

In 1786 JOHN GEIB, an employee of the firm, took out a PATENT (English, no. 1571) for what became known as the 
"English double ACTION." Longman and Broderip obtained the rights, thus their squares with this ESCAPEMENT action 
were the most sophisticated available in the British Isles in the eighteenth century. However, the styling "By Royal Patent," 
seen on the oval enamel plaques being used